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Gov. Reynolds visits Iowa Veterans Home

T-R photos by Thomas Nelson Iowa Veterans Home Commandant Timon Oujiri leads Gov. Kim Reynolds on a tour of the facility after Monday’s derecho caused $4 to $5 million worth of damage to the facility. Reynolds toured through Marshalltown Wednesday afternoon.

The Iowa Veterans Home had millions of dollars worth damage from Monday’s storm.

Gov. Kim Reynolds visited the Iowa Veterans Home Wednesday to observe damage caused by Monday’s derecho that caused $4 to $5 million worth of destruction. The fitness center lost its roof completely.

Three staff members received minor injuries, one worker twisted an ankle after the storm and two members of the nursing staff were hit with flying debris.

“This is even more widespread than the tornado was,” Reynolds said.

There are a significant amount of downed power lines all over the state and hundreds of thousands of people are still without power.

Oujiri leads Gov. Reynolds around some the debris caused by Monday’s derecho. The governor was observing the destruction caused by Monday’s storm.

“I’ve tried to set the expectation at the press conference on Tuesday that this is going to be a little bit longer than Iowans are normally used to. There’s such wide spread significant damage to even the big gladius towers,” Reynolds said. “It’s presenting some challenges we don’t normally have because it’s so expansive.”

Reynolds takes heart from the response of emergency managers, responders and everyday citizens who have gone out to help people stuck or in danger all around Iowa.

“Iowans are one big small town and they show up and they help,” she said.

She wants to make sure people are mindful of the COVID-19 pandemic while repairing it after the derecho.

“We have a lot of resources coming into the state because we have so much line damage,” Reynolds said. “We need to think about how to bring people together and social distance them and then help them.”

Reynolds and Oujiri assess building damage caused by Monday’s storm.

She thinks this is one of the worst disasters to hit Iowa.

“This is one of the worst,” Reynolds said. “I’m sure we’ll meet the criteria for a federal disaster.”

As of Wednesday, 23 Iowa counties have requested state emergency disaster relief.

“We’re still calculating what the cost is and we’ll be doing that for a while,” Reynolds said.

The disaster declaration assists individuals in those areas, and Reynolds is looking at ways to help out businesses, cities and counties.

T-R photo by Thomas Nelson Iowa Veterans Home Commandant Timon Oujiri leads Gov. Kim Reynolds around the IVH campus on Wednesday. The storm caused $4 to $5 million worth of damage.

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Contact Thomas Nelson at 641-753-6611 or tnelson@timesrepublican.com

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