MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa -- The Lennox plant in Marshalltown took a direct hit from the tornado that rolled through the city on Thursday. Some feared the damage was too great, and rumors began to spread immediately that the facility could leave town.
Those fears were put to rest on Monday when Lennox CEO Doug Young made a commitment to rebuild the plant and keep hundreds of jobs in the city.
While there's no timetable for the rebuild, the announcement brought some much-needed good news to Marshalltown.
“I was totally devastated. That's our bread and butter, so, very nervous,” said Doug Harvey.
Harvey has worked for Lennox for 19 years. The forklift operator says he didn't think Lennox would rebuild, which would've put him out of a job.
“My anxiety level was out of the roof. I've been out helping people just to keep my mind off of things, and off and on going to the lake and stuff, so yeah, it's been really stressful,” said Harvey.
The plant employs hundreds of people in Marshalltown, and Harvey says he was jumping for joy when he heard the news that Lennox isn't going anywhere.
“You couldn't imagine how that felt, it was the happiest feeling in my life,” said Harvey.
Mayor Joel Greer also says he was over the moon when he heard the news.
“I wanted to hug somebody, really, it's such a big decision here for us. That was the biggest worry everybody had in town,” said Greer.
Greer says if the worst would have come to pass, Marshalltown would have survived, like Newton did following Maytag's departure.
“I think we've got the kind of spirit in this town where that would have happened, but we really didn't want it to happen because there are too many good families and good people that work at that plant, and it's been such an integral part of Marshalltown,” said Greer.
But now, the city doesn’t have to face another challenge on top of what it’s already facing.
“God bless 'em for saying they're going to stay and rebuild and keep our workforce going,” said Greer.
Greer says rebuilding the plant could cost over $100 million. The Lennox employee credit union says it is open and willing to work with employees with loans who now don't have a stable source of income.