CHARITON, IOWA — Driving through Red Haw State Park, downed trees from the surrounding woods serve as a reminder of what took place just weeks ago.
Debris is still scattered throughout the property from the tornado that ripped through town; with lots of work having been done over the last several weeks. On Sunday more than two hundred volunteers helped clean up and collect scattered branches and trash.
The initial sign-up for the event was just over 200 people, but the park manager at Red Haw said that there was more than that.
“It was well over 250 because people came after we had already started. The community support not only within Chariton but beyond because the license plates were from all over the state and that was humbling today,” said Bonnie Friend, the park manager at Red Haw State Park. “It just warmed my heart to see so many people care about this park and care about this community.”
A couple of volunteers attended a local church in Chariton, and they were all chatting together once the work had been done. They said that after their Sunday services they decided to come through to help out with the effort today.
Friend says that several of the large evens have helped the park move forward in the clean-up process tremendously. But there is still a ways to go, the work that took place on Sunday helped the recovery process by weeks.
“There is no way we could have had it done in that time at all, it would have taken us months to get done,” said Friend. ” I can’t thank the community and the people from outside the Chariton area, I can’t thank them enough.”
Friend says that there may be one more event to help clean up the last of the debris. She is hoping that most, if not all of the park, is open in just a month or two’s time.