Local organizations band together to form long-term tornado relief

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS - Dozens of leaders from community organizations met at the Fisher Community Center Auditorium Wednesday evening to organize into committees for long-term tornado recovery. Each of the eight committees chose its leaders, and more meetings are expected in the near future.

A long-term tornado recovery effort is underway in Marshalltown after a meeting that saw dozens of people from local organizations, businesses and churches organized into committees to help families.

Eight subcommittees were formed under the umbrella of the larger Marshalltown Tornado Long-Term Recovery Committee at Fisher Community Center Wednesday afternoon.

“This group is all about how we move families forward,” said long-term committee co-chair and Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) Executive Director Arlene McAtee. She said the goal of the subcommittees is to get “families to reach the fullest recovery possible, as quickly as possible” in the aftermath of the July 19 tornado.

Fellow long-term committee co-chair and Marshalltown Area United Way Director Nancy Steveson said families impacted by the tornado are still seeking help in many areas of their lives.

“Our focus for these other subcommittees will be families and how we can restore those families to some kind of normalcy,” she said.

Center Associates CEO Paul Daniel rounds out the long-term committee co-chair trio, and he urged the diverse group of organizations to focus on unity as the committee gets to work in the coming weeks, months and years.

“We’re not just on this for the next few months – long-term recovery means long-term,” he said. “Please be listening to each other, please understand one another and offer affirmations.”

Meeting attendees divided themselves into eight subcommittees covering the areas of finance, spiritual and emotional support, volunteer management, community assessment, case advocacy, data management, communications-information technology and housing and building needs.

Once everyone decided which subcommittee they wanted to be on, the groups chose co-chairs. Steveson said the next step is for the long-term committee leaders and subcommittee leaders to meet next week.

“We don’t have any answers, we’re not trying to get to any answers, that’s the work that’s ahead of us, and there is a lot of work ahead of us,” McAtee said.

Here are the co-chairs for each of the eight subcommittees as decided at the Wednesday meeting:

•Finance: Linda Havelka of Child Abuse Prevention Services (CAPS) and Pastor Nan Smith of Hope United Methodist Church

•Spiritual and emotional support: Pastor Gregg Davison of Trinity Lutheran Church and Pastor Tom Bower of First Presbyterian Church

•Volunteer management: Linda Von Holten and Lori Williams of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)

•Community assessment: Pastor Dylan Does of Restore Church/Marshall County Community Foundation and Richie Ritter of Emerson

•Data management: Julie Winter of Region 6 Housing Trust Fund

•Case advocacy management: Emma Michaels of CAPS and Captain Pam Kasten of the Salvation Army

•Communications and information technology: Kim Jass-Ramirez of the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA and Sarah Rosenblum of Marshalltown Public Library

•Housing and building needs: Niko Aguirre of JBS Marshalltown and March Runner of the House of Compassion

Correction: The data management subcommittee chair’s name has been corrected to Julie Winter.

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Contact Adam Sodders at

(641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com