Pride items get vandalized at Vergas man's home, community is now standing by him

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OTTER TAIL COUNTY, Minn. (Valley News Live) -- An act of vandalism has sparked togetherness within a Minnesota community. It started with a resident discovering the damage outside his home.

Paul Haarstick walked outside his Vergas, Minnesota home to find his "All Are Welcome Here" sign torn in half and thrown across his yard.

"The flag was back here, tucked away a little bit," said Haarstick.

His pride flag was ripped down.

"There was anger that someone would come out to my property and do this," said Haarstick. "There was also some fear."

Haarstick checked his surveillance camera and caught the person walking across his front yard Saturday night, which he says confirms that it was no accident.

After hearing Haarstick's story on social media, Mandy Rubenstein rounded up a group of people.

"I wanted to do something no matter how small just to make him feel welcome," said Mandy Rubenstein from Detroit Lakes.

The two marched through Vergas to Billy's Corner Bar.

To meet up with others from small communities, who are standing by Haarstick.

Rubenstein says she hopes to set an example for her kids.

"We're here to be role models," said Rubenstein.

"Amazed," said Haarstick. "I feel so much joy and love from all of my friends in the community that wrote their support for this."

If you have any information on who vandalized the pride items, you're urged to call the Otter Tail Sheriffs Department.