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Hope blooms in flooded Iowa town
Nearly one year ago the small Iowa town of Palo was decimated by flood waters as the entire town was evacuated. This past weekend, elected officials and volunteers delivered baskets of flowers as their thanks to those who have returned and begun the rebuilding process.
“My father’s home in Palo was one that was flooded last summer,” said Cedar Rapids resident Heather Akers, who volunteered along with her husband and two young children to deliver the pots of flowers to residents. “We are interested in opportunities to help people out, and this seemed like a really nice gesture. We helped right after the flood, mucking out the damage, but it is really nice to return and do something else now that it has been a year.”The children — Harrison, 7, and Zoey, 4 — smiled and laughed while loading the pots into the back of an awaiting trailer, but otherwise had few comments about the good work they were doing.
“Yes,” Harrison responded when asked if he thought the deliveries were a good thing. He added “great,” when asked how he thought people would feel about the gifts.
“It’s good for the kids to see that people are coming back and that things are being rebuilt,” Heather added. “It was kind of tough for them to see grandpa lose so much stuff last summer.”
A total of 350 pots of red, white and blue petunias were loaded into trailers and the backs of pick-up trucks Saturday morning. The gifts were made possible by the Rebuild Palo Fund with support and contributions from Anderson-Bogert Engineering and the Cedar River Garden Center, and will be bright additions to a landscape that still bears the scars from last summer.
“It’s a good way for us to acknowledge this first anniversary of the flood,” said Jeff Beauregard, mayor of Palo. “It’s good to welcome everyone back, and its good for everyone to know that we are still working together to rebuild.”
A label placed on each pot featured a quote from Lady Bird Johnson: “Where flowers bloom, so does hope.” In the coming days, many Iowa communities impacted by the 2008 floods will commemorate the one-year anniversary with parades, community gatherings and video footage.