9 Who Care: Raymond Siddell & Matthew Salger

Published: Mar. 14, 2021 at 10:42 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Each year, KCRG-TV9 honors 9 volunteers from across Eastern Iowa. We call them our ‘9 Who Care.’ Matthew Salger and Raymond Siddell run the Iowa Storm Derecho Resource Center in Cedar Rapids.

Like many of us, they will never forget where they were, and what they saw during the derecho. “We watched about a 50 foot pine tree snap at the base and fall over the fence line into the neighboring property,” said Siddell. “It definitely got a little more terrifying.”

Siddell started a Facebook group ‘Iowa Storm Derecho Resource Page’ just hours after the storm with the little cell service he had. The page has more than 66,000 members, and lets Iowans ask for help on things like debris removal or where they can find a good contractor.

“I knew I lived in a good place,” said Siddell. “We know that Iowa is a great place, Cedar Rapids a great place to live. I don’t think we really know how great it is unfortunately until an event such as this.”

That Facebook page evolved into the Iowa Storm Derecho Resource Center. People can find it at 1150 27th Ave Southwest. It’s a massive warehouse filled with food and hygiene products for people to take home for free..

“I was really frustrated because it just didn’t seem like it was sort of organization or centralized location to get help,” said Siddell. “Get information, get resources, supplies, that we couldn’t find.”

No question is off-limits “I’ve looked up phone numbers for people,” said Siddell. “Unrelated to the storm. Unrelated to probably anything that we’re doing here today.”

His partner Matthew Salger letting Siddell be the face, and focusing on the behind the scenes work. He works every day at the center

“I like to give back,” said Salger. “I’ve always tried to give back either through time, talent, whatever you have.”

While helping with derecho relief, the two realizing people’s problems wouldn’t wash away after the storm. They kept the resource center open and formed the nonprofit ‘Together We Achieve’. They have held several food box giveaways, with a goal to pass out more than 12,000 boxes of food this year. Helping out more than 150 families per week.

“Our biggest need that we saw in the community was those families that fall between the cracks,” said Salger. “To see that relief on their face. We don’t ask any questions. They’re not going to get turned away. There’s no qualifiers. If you need help, you just come here.”

Siddell’s love for helping others took him South to Texas to help out during the winter storm More than 200 days since the Derecho, and Siddell and Salger are still OFFERING WHAT THEY CAN.

“I think that it’s really important that we continue this. We’ve built some solid relationships,” said Siddell. “And I want to make sure should this happen again in our community, that people know where to turn.”

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