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Volunteers traveling from out of town to help cleanup efforts in Cedar Rapids

Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 5:46 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - As many across Cedar Rapids continue to clean up debris, some are traveling long distances to help.

The same could be said for one Wisconsin couple. They have no ties to the area, but drove hours to get to work and volunteer on the southeast side of the city Monday morning. While people in Cedar Rapids have been picking up everything they can, so, too, have Dave and Diane Lobermeier.

“We’re retired so we decided we’ll take some time and pack up and come,” Diane said.

They came from way out of town to help, trekking from Amherst, Wisconsin, located near Stevens Point. It’s about a five-hour drive and 300 miles in the car, according to Dave. He said he worked with some nearby members of his group in Wisconsin, as he planned to drive down and bring supplies and donate them on the southwest side of Cedar Rapids.

Their plans did not stop there; they decided to start cleaning up the Oak Hill Cemetery on the southeast side of the city and will help out over the next two days wherever they can.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Diane said. “We have friends that live in Merrill, Wisc. where her husband grew up in Cedar Rapids. And they contacted us on Friday, and told us about the storm and the damage, and how upset they were that there was no news coverage on it.”

So with a chainsaw in hand, Dave and Diane went to work. They found Pete Martin, from North Liberty, wanting to help, too.

“I feel like we all have a part to make a difference and help recover from this, so this is what I’m going to do,” Martin said.

Turning strangers into teammates, but it is no surprise to this trio to find out they would work well together.

“People are just coming together and helping each other out, so, it’s kind of the way it is around here,” Martin said.

“It’s people helping people,” Dave said.

“It’s what Midwesterners do,” Diane said.

Their reason for helping, Martin described simply: “It’s got to be clean sometime,” Martin said.

Pulling more than their weight and hoping to inspire others, whether those people are local, or come from long distances.

“There’s so much negativity right now, we wanted to do something positive,” Diane said.

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