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Minn. toll hits home on the Cape

BREWSTER -- Valerie Redanz faces daily challenges in her job as a nurse, but nothing she has had to do at work prepared her for the heartbreaking task of telling her two grandsons that they would never see their mother again.

Redanz, a Brewster resident, is caring for the sons of Julia Blackhawk, 32, one of five people confirmed dead after the collapse of a Minneapolis bridge Wednesday.

"It was the hardest thing I've ever done, tell two young boys that their mother has died," said Redanz, a licensed practical nurse at a Cape Cod nursing home.

Redanz was taking care of the boys -- Adaaro Blackhawk, 12, and Xavier Blackhawk, 8 -- while their single mother went back to school in Minnesota.

Blackhawk's mother called Redanz on Thursday night to tell her the news. The boys were already in bed. Redanz worked her regular night shift and thought of a way to tell the boys.

"In the morning, after I got home from work, I took them to Calvary Baptist Church, where there was a counselor," Redanz told The Cape Cod Times.

At the church, she told them that their mother died when the bridge fell.

"The boys screamed, they just screamed," Redanz said. "And you know, we're trying to find our way right now."