Iowa Red Cross worker sees devastation of tornadoes


March 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An Iowa Red Cross worker expects to return to the state today (Tuesday) after moving around to several states helping with tornado recovery. Siouxland Red Cross communications director, Tammy Pech, was in Henryville, Indiana Monday — a town that was hit with an E-F-four (EF-4) tornado packing winds of 175-miles-an-hour. “The town is pretty much leveled, every home has some sort of damage. A lot of the homes have a destroyed status to them,” she says describing the damage. “As you look out over the fields, or you look out over the hill, what used to be homes and trees and schools are gone, just big piles of rubble. So, it was pretty devastating to see,” Pech says.

The Red Cross is providing shelter and counseling to the storm victims. Pech says the disaster mental health volunteers are going out and making sure everyone is well, especially since they had a tornado go through the same area last year as well. Pech had left Sioux City for Harrisburg, Illinois last Tuesday to help with storm recovery in that area, and has been moving from state to state as the tornadoes have moved through. That included a close call with one of the storms. “Friday we learned that this tornado system was coming through, so they prepositioned us over in Kentucky. And was we were heading east, we actually got stuck in a town called Mount Vernon, and we actually had to take shelter ourselves from three tornadoes that came within 10 miles of us as we were driving,” Pech says. You can help the tornado recovery by donating to the effort. “They can call 1-800-Red-Cross. They can click, or they can text Red Cross to 90999, and that’s a 10 dollar donation on their cellphone bill,” Pech says. The tornadoes claimed 39 lives in five states.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)