Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

6-10-08

Before

Tornado clean-up efforts.

An hour later

The result of tornado clean-up efforts.

Twenty volunteers, including members of Iowa State University's student chapter of the Associated General Contractors, work in the top photo to clean up damage caused by the tornado that hit northeast Iowa on May 25. The bottom photo shows what 20 volunteers can accomplish in one hour. Photo contributed by Iowa State's student chapter of the Associated General Contractors.

Contacts:

Cory McDermott, Associated General Contractors Student Chapter, (563) 590-4214,

cmcdrmtt@iastate.edu

Larry Cormicle, Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, (515) 294-8299, cormicle@iastate.edu

Mike Krapfl, News Service, (515) 294-4917, mkrapfl@iastate.edu

Iowa State construction engineering students help coordinate tornado relief

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University construction engineering students spent part of a recent weekend cleaning debris left behind by the tornado that hit Parkersburg, New Hartford and other northeast Iowa cities on May 25.

They helped clear damaged trees. They helped sift through wreckage. They sorted debris into garbage and burn piles.

And now they want to encourage and coordinate the ongoing relief efforts of other Iowa Staters.

Cory McDermott, who's from Dubuque and is studying construction engineering in a joint undergraduate and graduate program, said there is incredible need in the Parkersburg area. And he said he knows Iowa Staters have a lot of potential to help. So he and other students in Iowa State's construction engineering program are working to connect those in need with Iowa Staters who want to help.

To sign up, go to the Web site of Iowa State's student chapter of the Associated General Contractors at http://www.stuorg.iastate.edu/agc/ and fill out an online form.

Chapter members will work to match skills with needs, coordinate travel and build groups of volunteers.

"What we're hoping to do is build more of a relationship between the Parkersburg area and the Iowa State community," McDermott said. "We want to let people know there is a need and give them an outlet to help."

Iowa State's student chapter of the national contractor's group has experience with disaster relief.

The past three years, chapter members have spent spring break helping residents of Waveland, Miss., rebuild homes destroyed and damaged by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. The projects they've completed include constructing homes and sheds, pouring concrete, installing wheelchair ramps and building decks.

Those kinds of service projects have earned the chapter three consecutive Outstanding Student Chapter of the Year awards from the Associated General Contractors of America.

Larry Cormicle, Iowa State's Glenn H. DeStigter Scholar in Construction Engineering and the adviser for Iowa State's nearly 200-member student chapter, said the awards are judged strictly by a chapter's commitment to service.

"The spirit of this group is that they believe in helping those in need," Cormicle said. "Our students are just awesome. I'm stunned by what they do for people."

And now they want to use their skills and spirit to help Iowa tornado victims.

"Growing up in Iowa, there have always been tornadoes and tornado watches and warnings," McDermott said. "And I never paid attention. But then when you see massive granite gravestones tossed, houses leveled and trees snapped in half, you understand the intense, awesome power."

The student chapter's tornado relief work is being led by McDermott and three other students majoring in construction engineering: Tim Corcoran, a senior from Sumner, Dave Kubik, a senior from Bettendorf and Landon Streit, a senior from Barnum.

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Quick look

The Iowa State University student chapter of the Associated General Contractors is working to connect victims of the May 25 tornado that damaged several cities in northeast Iowa with Iowa Staters who want to help. You can sign up or learn more at the organization's Web site.

Quotes

"What we're hoping to do is build more of a relationship between the Parkersburg area and the Iowa State community. We want to let people know there is a need and give them an outlet to help."

Cory McDermott, an Iowa State student from Dubuque who's studying construction engineering in a joint undergraduate and graduate program

"The spirit of this group is that they believe in helping those in need. Our students are just awesome. I'm stunned by what they do for people."

Larry Cormicle, Iowa State's Glenn H. DeStigter Scholar in Construction Engineering and the adviser for Iowa State's student chapter of the Associated General Contractors