Iowans respond to the derecho: The Gusomano family

In a year marked by adversity, Iowans were again tested when a derecho slammed through Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and much of the surrounding area on Aug. 10.

Laura Gusomano, research secretary in the Department of Family Medicine

Despite widespread damage, power outages, and downed trees, residents of those communities spared no time in cleaning up their houses and yards, as well as offering help to those in need.

A combined effort

Laura Gusomano, research secretary in the Department of Family Medicine, and her son were on the streets of Iowa City when the storm hit.

“We were in the process of moving from one apartment to another,” says Gusomano. “Once the storm passed, most people were still in their homes and weren’t coming out yet to assess the damage.”

While much of Iowa City was still unclear what had happened, Gusomano and her son quickly recognized how severe the storm had been.

“We reached a street that had a very large pine tree blocking the road,” she says. “My son got out and used our vehicle to tow it off the street. A few more neighbors came to assist with their chainsaws and tried to get it off because it just completely blocked that road.”

Close to home

Don’t forget about the Staff Emergency Fund for those impacted by the Aug. 10 derecho. See eligibility and how to apply.

For Gusomano and her family, their efforts to clear roadways in Iowa City was deeply personal. Just 10 days prior to the derecho, a family emergency required the support of emergency services and, had the roadways been blocked, the outcome may have been radically different.

“My son was concerned that if the streets were blocked and someone else’s family had a medical emergency, emergency services would not get through,” she says. “It was such an important factor in saving our family member, that he just felt it was necessary to go out and begin clearing streets.”

So many Iowans have been impacted by the recent derecho. And yet, where there was once damage and destruction, people have come together to help. We want to hear about the good you’ve seen.

Tell us about an act of kindness from a faculty or staff member or a group that has gone above and beyond to help others after the storm.

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