MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — In July 2018, a tornado ripped through Marshalltown, and nine months later, the town is still recovering.
More than 600 Habitat for Humanity of Iowa volunteers came together in Marshalltown to work on 40 different houses that were damaged by the tornado.
Many of the projects they are working on are replacing siding, windows and drywall.
Volunteers say coming into town almost a year later, they realized just how much work still needed to be done and it seems to be far from over.
“In the aftermath, there’s a lot of energy obviously but these things take a lot of time to put back together and so it is important that people continue to see the need and finish the project out,” volunteer Aaron Crabb said.
Habitat for Humanity said a lot of the people they’re helping out either didn’t have insurance or there are significant delays in receiving money from insurance companies, but the repairs couldn’t be put off anymore than they already had.
“This is what Iowans do. We stand up for each other when the chips are down. When there is a disaster like this, we come together and we work together. And so it’s a lot of fun. My company let me be here today, but there’s people from a lot of different companies. There are people that gave their personal time to be out here. So you meet a lot of new people and build relationships and it’s a real, true community,” Crabb said.
Many volunteers said they wanted to help because they saw just how much destruction the tornado caused.
“If you look up and down the block with roofs still torn off or holes and sidings. And so this really goes and gives, I think, some people their sense of home back and being able to get those repairs and have it be a safe place for them to go live and come home to,” volunteer Justin Parker said.
These 40 homes are only the beginning of a much larger goal for Habitat for Humanity to repair 100 homes in Marshalltown in 2019.
“So these 40 homes are really just the kick off and then we are going to continue to work past that. So we are definitely going to need additional volunteer groups, we need additional funders to come in. Our funders and our sponsors have been so amazing. They’ve really done a fantastic job, but there’s a lot of need to here,” Habitat for Humanity of Iowa Executive Director Lisa Houser said.
Saturday is the last blitz day for these projects, but many volunteers will continue beyond that until all the work is completed.