Volunteers help with tree cleanup - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Volunteers help with tree cleanup


The long cleanup process continues for areas damaged by tornadoes last May.

In some areas, the outdoor work has just begun.

The May 25th tornado damaged homes south and east of Hazleton in Buchanan County.

Since then, people have picked up the pieces and started the rebuilding process.

For some homeowners, that could be years.

Now that spring is here, some of the work to repair or replace so many trees damaged in the storm is getting underway.

One group of Pennsylvania tree experts and carpenters will head home tomorrow after giving residents some much needed help.

Julie Dettbarn and her grandson Leo can't climb a tree on the family's land near Hazleton.

That's because hardly any still stand.

"The trees are ripped up and bent over and broken off the ground and all that needs to be cleaned up," said Dettbarn.

The family got some help this week after Bruce Gray and other members of a Christian group named Carpenters Calling came to Hazleton and Cedar Rapids to help with tornado and flood rebuilding.

"As Christians, we have a call to help other people as we can. I've been very blessed in my life and seeking to share God's love with other people and try and help them out," said Gray.

That means taking chainsaws to dozens of trees in the Hazleton area.

They're now in piles waiting to be hauled off or burned.

Dettbarn says her family appreciates the help.

"These guys probably saved us 3-4 weeks. It's amazing. Anytime anyone comes in and does something for you, it's amazing how much time it gives you to do the other things that are necessary," said Dettbarn.

Carpenters Calling is based near Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

They send out teams every spring to areas that could use their help - staying at local churches.

The 48 member group that came to Iowa heads home Saturday.

Individual homeowners weren't the only ones hit hard by that tornado.

The city itself took a huge hit.

Hazleton is getting $34,000 from the Rebuild Iowa bill.

That'll go a long way to repairing the wastewater treatment area there.

Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

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