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Several acts of kindness by strangers helped stranded drivers get to safety during Thursday blizzard

Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 6:24 PM CST
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BENTON COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) -Dozens of drivers were stranded for hours on rural highways during Thursday’s blizzard. Cars were backed up on both Highway 151 and Highway 30 in Benton County as heavy winds caused snow drifts in the roadways. The rough conditions led to several acts of goodwill as people helped each other get to safety.

Doug Kelly of Cedar Rapids was one of many caught up in the snow drifts on Highway 30.

“By the time the snow plow came through from the state they were about 3 and a half feet tall along the side of my car,” Kelly told TV-9.

A simple drive from Des Moines back to his home in Cedar Rapids led to a 9 hour standstill. Kelly didn’t get home until 1 a.m. Friday.

Derrick Parker from the Iowa Snow Drifters snowmobiling club used his groomer that’s normally used to clear trails to help get people out who were stuck on Highway 30.

Kelly says volunteer firefighters and area farmers all pitched in where he was located.

“Big farm tractors would push all the snow out and then you’d just follow along,” Kelly told us.

“It was great, it was wonderful,” he added.

Meanwhile on Highway 151, Margaret Schultz-Wendel looked out her window to see a long line of cars in a standstill. It wasn’t long before someone was knocking on her door.

“He told us that he has a couple of other people in his vehicle and that he was stuck down the road and so I told my husband, probably better get on the sled and go get them,” she told us.

Schultz-Wendel and her husband sheltered three strangers in their home while they waiting for another ride. She learned this morning one of those strangers is crediting her with saving their life.

“You know treat people how you’d want to be treated, and help them whenever you can so I’m just glad that they came to the door because we didn’t see them go down the road with how windy it was and all the snow blowing,” Schultz-Wendel says.

Clean-up continued today and roads continued to be cleared, a reminder of the scary trek home for many who were thankful there were helping hands along the way.

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