MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — It’s a day that will be hard to forget, July 19th, 2018.
“Just to see the damage [it] was heartbreaking,” Anel Garza, Woodbury Elementary Principal said.
The EF3 tornado ripped through Marshalltown, Woodbury elementary was right in its path.
“The flagpole was the most telling thing. The flag pole, which is on the east side of the school at the front entrance, was completely bent like a Shepard’s hook,” Theron Schutte, Superintendent for Marshalltown Community Schools said.
Luckily the school itself only had minor damages, but the surrounding neighborhood, where many of the students live, wasn’t so lucky.
“The folks of Marshalltown are some of the most resilient people,” Jeff Wrage, Regional Account Executive for Keurig Dr. Pepper said. “So I knew once the tornado was done people would get up dust themselves off and get back to work rebuilding their town. I just kept thinking how can we help? What can we do?”
Wrage grew up in Marshalltown and quickly nominated his former elementary to be the next location for his company’s playground project.
The companies Keurig-Dr. Pepper and Kaboom have been building playgrounds all across North America since 2011. It’s all a part of the “Let’s Play Initiative.” Their goal is to donate $30.5 million in playground equipment, affecting about 13 million kids by 2020.
Fareway Stores also joined in on the partnership.
“It’s just great testimonials of relationships and partnerships to bring a tremendous end result to a town that sustained some damage from the tornado,” Mike Mazour, Executive Vice President of Fareway Stores said.
The playground will replace some old equipment and add some swings to an area that is utilized a lot by the surrounding community. It will be built and ready to use all in one day, on the tornado’s anniversary.
“I think it will have extra meaning because that was the beginning of weeks and months, and in some cases, even a year of people coming together in this community,” Schutte said.
It will also be giving those who will use the playground most, something positive one year later.
“I think emotionally it’s going to be very helpful just because our students are still very fearful,” Garza said. “As soon as the clouds start to cover we start to hear the stories again.”
They are asking the community to help make this happen. They need 200 volunteers to show up at 8 am on Friday to Woodbury Elementary to help build the playground. They expect it to be completed by 2:30 in the afternoon.
You can sign up and register the day of and no construction skills are required.