CEDAR FALLS | A local couple will head west Oct. 22 to help Colorado residents clean up after devastating floods hit the eastern Rocky Mountain region earlier this month.
Cedar Falls residents Lowen and Diane Anderson were accepted to serve in Greeley, Colo., as part of the All Hands Volunteer Project, a nonprofit organization that assists in cleanup efforts after global natural disasters.
“It just made us sick,” Diane Anderson said. “There have been deaths. And I think a lot are (from) young families; you just put yourself in their place.”
Anderson said she and her husband wanted to give back to the state where her family has made so many memories during their yearly vacations.
“Those mountain people are just so friendly. We’re corn folks. I’m thinking we’ll work well with a lot of fun people,” she said.
John Gates, Greeley mayor pro tem, said though Greeley itself has not been as severely affected by the flooding, the city is coordinating volunteer efforts to aid smaller towns that have been harder-hit like the city of Evans. According to Evans' website, the city has closed two of its neighborhoods for public and safety reasons.
All Hands Volunteers hit the ground in Colorado Sept. 14, focusing primarily on Larimer and Weld counties in the north-central part of the state. Many of the roads in the area have been washed out by the flooding, making homes and properties inaccessible to their owners.
Volunteer teams will help residents and business owners clear debris and salvage belongings. Some volunteers are also helping farmers clear debris scattered across their fields.
Anderson said she hopes to provide child care for families who lost their homes since she and her husband are former educators.
She wasn’t sure what will be asked of them during the nine-day project, but they were told to bring an air mattress, bedding, clothing they can throw away, rubber gloves and boots. Anderson is preparing for anything.
“They haven’t exactly told us what we’ll do. … They did ask if you can run a chainsaw on the application,” Anderson said.