A Davenport native who’s lived on the East Coast for 20 years is back in Iowa this week to help rebuild tornado-ravaged homes. Forty-four-year-old Todd Borden is part of an Episcopal church team from Richmond, Virginia. They’re working in Hazleton, one of several northeast Iowa towns severely damaged in the May twister.
Borden, an Iowa State University graduate, was asked what he’s getting out of the trip. "Not really getting out of it so much as giving," he says. "The Lord has given lots of stuff to me and I care about people and that’s how I pay it back." Borden is a civil engineer, not a home-builder.
"Not professionally, no," Borden says, laughing. "I’ve worked a lot with Habitat For Humanity, the local organization called Rebuilding Richmond that goes in and helps people locally that aren’t able to help themselves." The Virginia team is working to roof and insulate the home of Arnie Dettbarn, the Hazleton fire chief.
Dettbarn and his volunteer firefighter wife were both out on emergency calls when the twister demolished their house, something they didn’t learn about for hours. Borden says he doesn’t get back to Iowa very often, so it’s refreshing to be back in his home state, pitching in on a worthwhile project with other members of his congregation.
"People out here are good people and I enjoy working with them. When you travel around the country, you get a whole lot of different personalities and Midwestern people are cool." Relief officials say there’s a renewed urgency in many Iowa cities to rebuild tornado- or flood-damaged homes before the cold weather sets in. For information on joining a volunteer team, check with your neighborhood church or the nearest Red Cross office.