I Was In the Middle of An Assessment When the Derecho Hit

Fall seems to be upon us! Where did the summer go? I feel like ours got blown away with the historic derecho storm we experienced on August 10, 2020.

What is a derecho, you ask? It is certainly a word I had not heard of prior to that August 10th afternoon. It is an inland hurricane with winds up to 140mph!  We are used to threats of tornadoes in Iowa but not hurricanes! We had sustained 120-140mph straight-line winds for 45 minutes and for the first time I was scared during a weather event.

Broken trees and damage from the derecho in Cedar Rapids August 2020

I had just arrived at an assessment and proceeded to crouch in an interior bathroom with a 92-year-old man, whom I had just met. The man’s wife and their daughter were hiding in a closet down the hallway from us. This man, who is now our client, was actually a calm presence for me because he has significant hearing loss and really couldn’t hear the strength of the wind pushing its way through every crack around the windows and doorways. I was expecting the roof to blow off at any moment but, fortunately, it did not. Others were not so lucky. He proceeded to speak calmly about his life and I asked him questions to try to distract me from the noises of destruction going on outside. After 45 long minutes we emerged from our hiding places to find downed trees, fallen power lines, damaged cars, shattered sheds and fences, and misshapen homes. It was unbelievable. I remember how relieved I felt when it was over, knowing we were all ok and the structure we sought refuge in was still intact. We finished our meeting and we proceeded to start services for this family.

Broken trees
Broken trees and power lines

Among the stress and fear, I was reminded why I operate Right at Home. For families who need us and the fact that we are there for them, even during a derecho.

S. Humphries
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