Rock Valley, IA
Rock Valley has had a week to forget, but with volunteers like these, the weeks ahead are looking up.
"We've got about as many volunteers as we needed," Mayor Kevin Van Otterloo said.
The city asked for volunteers to help clean up, and the call was answered. People came from World Renew, a Grand Rapids, Michigan group that travels around the world to help with disasters. A more local group from Emmetsburg, Iowa also lent a hand.
"Anybody could be in this predicament. We just know that if anything like this would happen in our community, people from Rock Valley would come out and help. It just makes a guy feel good," Lynn Schultes said.
The volunteers went into homes today to take out damaged items like water heaters and rip out damaged walls and floorboards.
Angela Castandea's home was recently remolded, but during the flood the water filled up past her basement and her first floor was destroyed. She says what the volunteers are doing for her family means more than just cleaning up.
"We didn't know to remove the sheetrock and insulation so it was pretty good advice. Otherwise we wouldn't have known," Angela Castandea said.
With the help of the volunteers, the city's mayor says the majority of the cleanup will be finished today. After a few weeks of dying out, the next step of rebuilding the town that has dealt with so much will begin.
"The destruction is about done and we're ready to start the construction in a couple weeks. It has been going really good, but there's a lot of hard work left to do," Van Otterloo said.
Castandea has a lot of hard work left as well, but thanks to the help from complete strangers, she believes her home for almost a decade will be home again.
"I'm truly blessed that we have people out there that are willing to help. It means a lot," Castaneda said.
Many of the volunteers from Emmetsburg are on the RAGBRAI committee. They wanted to help out Rock Valley because the town is still planning on opening the bike cross-state bike event after getting hit by the massive flooding.