The Iowa tradition lives on

Helping those who need help is the Iowa way

When the Missouri River recently surged out of its banks and turned southwest Iowa and parts of Nebraska into a giant pond, the true character of Iowans shined through once again.

People across Iowa, even those with no connection to the flooded area, are pitching in to collect money, bottled water, hay for livestock and other supplies to be sent to those who are impacted by this disaster.

And they’re not limiting their generosity to their fellow Iowans. Some of the material is going to flooded areas of Nebraska.

People in the Fort Dodge area are part of this grassroots relief effort. For example, Heidi Lau, of Fort Dodge, is leading an effort to gather everything from paper towels to snacks. She’s already filled her vehicle with items she’s collected and delivered them to her sister-in-law, who will take the materials to the flood zone.

Jen Birkey, of Barnum, went to the flood zone with the group Emergency Evacuation Pet Rescue. While there, she helped rescue horses, dogs and goats.

Tristan Novak, of Manson, used his excavator and boat to help with the animal rescue effort.

And area residents are contributing money to help send drywall made in Fort Dodge to the flooded town of Hamburg, where it will be put to use rebuilding waterlogged homes. The effort was inspired by Matt Peters, a former Fort Dodge resident who now lives in Hamburg. By Wednesday afternoon, a site taking donations had nearly reached the hoped-for $5,000.

No government official told anyone to do any of this.

The people just did it.

That’s the way we Iowans are. We’re generally a humble bunch who don’t toot our own horns.

But the truth about Iowans is that we’re more than that.

We’re a kind and generous group of people who take care of our own and, when the occasion calls for it, everyone else we can possibly help.

That’s us.

That’s Iowa.

That’s why we live here, and that’s what we strive for.

Let’s never change.

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