Parkersburg Shows Signs of Rebuilding

By: Sara Stewart, Reporter

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By Claire Kellett

PARKERSBURG - More than 300 people so far are asking for federal assistance. They're survivors of the strongest tornado to hit Iowa in more than 30 years. More than 1,300 volunteers came to Parkersburg Saturday to help in any way they could. Sunday, an EF-5 tornado leveled homes in Parkersburg, Dunkerton, and Hazleton, killing 7 people. Piles of debris still litter Parkersburg. But for some, the focus has turned from cleaning to constructing.

It may seems like a small construction project but this is big progress.

"A lot of people say they are not going to build, not sure, so we figure is we go ahead and get this one up first. It'll give some positive instead of the negative," says Jim Bellows.

The tornado lifted the garage and destroyed it. The only thing left is a concrete foundation, and beside it a house also destroyed. Blueprints are underway, but not without help from family and volunteers.

"We want to set an example and start getting hope within the community so hopefully people will see this and stick around," says Kelly Jansen from Parkersburg.

Jansen is here on emergency leave from the Air Force to help his hometown.

"Hopefully the town will be back together as close as it was," says Jansen.

These people hope this small step motivates the town to make plans to stay in Parkersburg.

If you plan to volunteer in Parkersburg this weekend, the town is asking you to park on Newell Avenue, and then take a shuttle to the Methodist Church.

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