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The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him: adam.belz@gazcomm.com

Palo woman honors “angels” who helped her rebuild

SandyWood
Sandy Wood’s home in Palo was flooded in 2008. The water was three feet deep on the first floor. Above is a picture of her, in her remodeled living room, with two objects of special significance for her.

The board with all the names on it is a piece that she asked every volunteer who worked at her house to sign. So there they are — all the names. The framed pictures are of Iowa State University students working on her home. One of the students made the frame for her.

She gave me a handwritten letter describing her experience since the flood, and though I couldn’t promise her I’d be able to get it in the newspaper, I can certainly reproduce it here:

June 2008 was to be a happy month, as our daughter Amanda got married June 7, 2008. Within a few days, the happy times were gone, as our home had been flooded. We lost everything, including her wedding cake and gifts. We ended up with three feet on the main floor and five feet in the garage. Our house was tagged on June 17. We found it was tagged yellow (meaning it could be moved back into). I was so happy that after having long hair for two years I went to get it cut off.

When we finally got to go see our home June 20 my happiness went into tears as everything was destroyed, even our beautiful pond. As we went into the house, the carpet was full of mud and things that belonged in one room were now in another.

Now, came the time to start throwing everything out. As me and my husband stood in the living room, we did not know where to start. We had wonderful friends from the Marion Gospel Church and all over show up to help throw out 29 years of our life. Most of it didn’t bother me, but when it came to seeing our children’s finger paintings and all the Mother’s and Father’s Day cards being thrown away, that’s when I really broke down. Our children are 35, 29, and 26.

We had no idea how we were going to be able to afford to rebuild with the money we received from FEMA and Jumpstart. Then came Eight Days of Hope as we were told as long as we had supplies they would come and help. They hung all our sheetrock, put in all the subfloors, rebuilt walls.

Then came students that were studying to be attorneys. They hung four interior doors and two pocket doors.

Then came Iowa State students (which I called our kids). We had five guys and one girl for three days. They put in front and back doors, two basement windows, the kitchen floor, one bedroom floor, two vanities and medicine chests. They hung all the kitchen cupboards.

Then came the sweetest 80 year old man and Teddy Bear and Grant who came out and built steps and put up hand rails.

We had so many people from everywhere in the world, and each one that worked on our home signed my 2×10 board four feet long, and I can tell you it is full.

Then came retired plumbers. One day we had eight. Next day we had three. We still need some more done. Marion Gospel Church made a beautiful Pepsi lamp for my husband as he is one big Pepsi fan. My Iowa State students made me a beautiful cross with pictures of them working on our house. There has been Peace Church, who brought us things and did yard work.

Each one are true angels that God has sent to us. We will never forget any of you, and we hope you come for a visit to see how nice our home looks thanks to you all.

God Bless,
Jerry and Sandy Wood
(If we have missed anyone, we sure didn’t mean to.)

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