Rain Slows Clean-Up Effort

By Mark Geary, Reporter

Heavy equipment did much of the work Thursday, May 29, 2008, as debris was being pushed closer to the curb in the tornado-damaged neighborhoods in Parkersburg. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

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By Becky Ogann

PARKERSBURG - The rain is a problem in Parkersburg after an EF-5 tornado Sunday killed seven people and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses. Thursday's weather has clean-up efforts at a virtual standstill.

It rained off and on all day in Parkersburg on Thursday. So the cleanup process was put on hold. It made the difficult situation even more frustrating for people here. And for the volunteers who wanted to help.

People from all over Iowa and surrounding states gathered at the United Methodist Church hoping to help. But rainy weather kept them cooped up inside.

"It's frustrating, you can have 200 people in the room and you have to tell them to go home. But there will be another day, this isn't something that's just going to go away in 48 hours," said Mitch Nordmeyer, volunteer coordinator.

Some volunteers from Reinbeck were able to find a few housekeeping chores to keep them busy though.

"Just picking up, straightening up, scrubbing walls, vaccumming," said Brandy Sealman, volunteer.

"We were a little disappointed, we couldn't outside today but we found things to do," said Joan Fogt, volunteer.

Some volunteers spent a few hours picking out clothes covered in debris. They also did a little cleaning too. The people of Parkersburg can't believe all these people are coming to help.

Even though volunteers weren't able to accomplish much Thursday, they'll have more than enough jobs to do once the weather clears up.

If you'd like to help volunteer, the city wants everyone to check in at the United Methodist Church on Florence Street. Then, they'll give you an assignment and send you to the place you're needed at most.

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