Cedar Falls firefighter organizing volunteers to help in Joplin - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Falls firefighter organizing volunteers to help in Joplin

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Dozens of Eastern Iowans were outside a Waterloo home on Saturday, finalizing plans to head south to Joplin.

"I just leave myself open to God's calling in my life, and when he says go, I go," said volunteer Jerry Makedonski.

Many of the volunteers have helped in other disasters, and they know there's a lot to get done before Wednesday morning. Josh Lux, on the other hand, is learning as he goes.

"Initially my plan was contact three or four guys and run down with one pickup," said Lux.

Lux is the man spearheading this effort. He saw the images coming from Joplin, and as a Cedar Falls firefighter, they hit close to home.

"As soon as I see these pictures, it just takes me right back. It really doesn't look any different to me than Parkersburg looked like when we first arrived," he said.

Lux figured he could get a few volunteers. He didn't imagine a response like the one he's getting.

"It's pretty amazing what God can do," Lux noted.

By the time they leave Wednesday, they're planning to have that trailer filled with supplies and several of these vans filled with volunteers. It's a far cry from Lux's initial plan of heading down with a couple guys and a couple axes.

"We've got chainsaws, we've got a skid loader that's going down. There's just been an overwhelming... the people of Iowa have really given. And that's just overwhelming," said Lux.

The team of volunteers are well aware that their time in Joplin will be challenging.

"You have to be very mindful that a lot of these people have lost everything they had," said Makedonski.

But they're leaning on their faith, and each other, to do what they can for their neighbors.

"As brothers and sisters in Christ, we're there for them," said Lux.

The volunteers are collecting donations through Tuesday night. There are sites at Cedar Heights Baptist Church and 2608 Laurel Street in Waterloo.

On Monday, they'll have a drop-off site outside Crossroads Hy-Vee in Waterloo. From 9:00-6:00 volunteers will have lists of needed items. They include food and water, personal hygiene products, and diapers.

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