Local UnityPoint Health volunteers will inspire on tornado anniversary

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Pictured is one of many rocks painted by high school volunteers with UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown slogan “You Matter.” The rocks will be placed around town shortly before July 19 - the first anniversary of the tornado - to inspire residents to carry on.

Come July 19, UnityPoint Health – Marshalltown Volunteer Coordinator Nora Byers and 10 high school student volunteers will have inspired tornado-weary residents to carry on.

Byers and students from Marshalltown High School, East Marshall High School and West Marshall High School will have painted dozens of rocks with UnityPoint’s “You Matter” slogan.

The team will place them around town beginning July 17 for residents to find and be encouraged, Byers said.

July 19 marks the first anniversary of the devastating tornado which crushed hundreds of homes and businesses in a nine-mile swath north of Boone Street.

Byers and the students understand that while many residents and businesses have been able to rebuild, many others have struggled to resolve insurance issues, are waiting for repairs or wondering if their lives will ever be the same.

Byers said the 10 students are interested in health care careers and when not painting rocks, the students have been job shadowing UnityPoint Health medical professionals.

“This is such a neat group of kids,” she said.

UnityPoint Health and other Central Iowa businesses have implemented innovative programs to attract youth contemplating careers.

For more information, contact Byers at 641-754-5151, or Nora.Byers@unitypoint.org.

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Contact Mike Donahey at

641-753-6611 or

mdonahey@timesrepublican.com