Storms Rip Roof off Trinity Lutheran School

By Lee Hermiston, The Gazette

Surveying the damage at Trinity Lutheran School, Gaylon Heetland was able to keep his sense of humor.

“That’s one way to get a new roof for the school,” said Heetland, treasurer for Trinity Lutheran.

Monday night’s storm, which caused damage throughout the city and Eastern Iowa, ripped off portions of the schools roof and appeared to shift the roof over the gymnasium. Sunlight poked through two holes and several slender gaps, shining light on the water and muck covering the gym floor. There was standing water throughout the school.

“I’m sure the floor is ruined,” Heetland said. “You can’t do this much to a wood floor and expect it to survive.

“There’s water in about half of the classrooms, too,” he added.

Outside the school, pieces of insulation were scattered throughout the property, and a metal rod holding up a street sight was snapped off at the base.

Heetland, who lives nearby, said his grandchildren were visiting when the storm hit. He moved mattresses down to his basement and took shelter there overnight. His basement took on water, something that’s never happened before, he said.

“Even during the flood, we never had water in the basement,” Heetland said.

Heetland said he didn’t know about the damage to the school Tuesday morning. Instead, he took a morning stroll to survey storm damage in his neighborhood and came across it.

“I didn’t expect to find this,” he said.

A new wing of the school seems to have avoided major damage. and the Trinity Lutheran Church across the street appeared to be relatively unscathed, as well. But with a summer program to prepare for and more rain on the way, Heetland isn’t sure what the immediate future is going to hold for the school.

“I don’t even know how we’re going to secure it,” he said.

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