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Local churches host derecho commemoration to highlight positive outcomes

Published: Aug. 22, 2021 at 10:13 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Two local churches hosted an event on Sunday to commemorate last year’s derecho, and shine a positive light on something that has negatively impacted so many.

Members of Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church and Gloria Dei church are still repairing homes, and cleaning up debris one year after the derecho. While some still have a long road ahead, church leaders said they wanted Sunday’s event to focus on the good things that came as a result.

Pastor Jayne Thompson with Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church says she wanted people to celebrate making it through hardship rather than dwell on the actual experience itself.

”Sharing stories, whether they’re stories of hardship or triumph, or somewhere in between, we know people are still struggling and we wanted to have a little time for them to relax, have some fun, have good food, and just be together,” said Pastor Thompson.

That’s why she and Pastor Trish Decker with Gloria Dei church came together to help make the event happen.

”The focus is on remembering and celebrating what our community has been able to do together through the hardest times,” said Pastor Decker.

They say they wanted people like Carmen Baker and Bob Chittick to tell their stories. Being residents of Edgewood Forest Mobile home park and having been hit hard by the derecho, Baker and Chittick have been able to move past the impact of the derecho because of the helping hands from both churches.

“If it wasn’t for volunteers doing this and that, I’d still be cleaning up tree debris, I’d still be doing this and doing that,” said Chittick.

Even their son, Cherslin Chittick said he wanted to come to today’s event to talk about the positive experience.

“It’s actually really awesome, I’m surprised that people are that nice,” he said.

Volunteers with both churches were able to help the family and others in the mobile home park clean up debris and repair damages to their homes.

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