MODR Responds to Tornado Damage in Greenfield, Iowa

MODR Responds to Tornado Damage in Greenfield, Iowa

By Tharran Gaines and Cindy Gladden

Some sources say the tornado that hit Greenfield, Iowa, on Tuesday, May 21, was rated as an EF-3 twister, while other sources say it was an EF-4 tornado. Either way, it left a wide swath of destroyed homes, splintered trees and crumpled cars in the town of 2,000 about 55 miles southwest of Des Moines. It also left five people dead and caused at least 35 injuries.

Fortunately, Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief (MODR) was on site in less than 24 hours to provide Help, Hope and Healing. According to John Mohler, Director of Missions for the Harrison Baptist Association, based in Bethany, Missouri, MODR joined up with the local Catholic church, which served as a base for several service organizations.

Due to his close proximity in north central Missouri, Mohler was not only one of the first on the scene, but one of the first to meet with local officials as the initial White Hat. Mohler noted that in response to the immediate needs, MODR volunteers handed out tarps and meals, as well as boxes and tubs for collecting personal items and valuables from damaged or destroyed homes. In the meantime, the First Baptist Church in Creston, Iowa, provided aid to MODR volunteers in the form of housing.

“We had done little more than arrive when someone from the church, who was already familiar with MODR, commented, ‘I’m sure glad you guys are here!’.”

Toby Tucker, who later relieved Mohler as the MODR white hat, said approximately one third of the residential area in the small Iowa town was damaged by the tornado. Still, MDOR teams did everything in their power to provide relief. One of the most valuable and critical assets was the presence of MODR chaplains, particularly as family members received permission to go back to their homes, causing emotions to run high.

The response to the Greenfield tornado was also one of the first few times the Quick Response Unit (QRU) was deployed. Since it can be set up quickly and used virtually anywhere, it was invaluable in the preparation of 200 to 300 meals per day.

In addition, two chainsaw teams responded to the callout. Unfortunately, due to all the tornado damage, about the only thing they could do to help was to cut down standing trees that had been stripped of all the limbs.

As a final gesture of support, Tucker said MODR volunteers set up at the local ACE hardware store and handed out 93 gift cards to residents to help with immediate needs. Naturally, prayers were offered with each of the hundred-plus contacts, resulting in one known salvation. However, just as it is with every major storm, it will take weeks and months for families to fully recover. So, continue to pray for the people in Greenfield, Iowa.