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Published by Kirby Winn on Friday, August 13, 2021 in Blog

Supporting Team Members and Communities After the August 2020 Derecho

August 10, 2020 will long be remembered for the inland hurricane, called a Derecho, that moved through eastern Iowa and western Illinois. ImpactLife employees in the affected region also remember the support they received from their colleagues as they recovered from damaged homes and went without power and even water, many for a week or more.

Heavy rain and strong winds caused widespread power outages and property damage across the region. Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and the Quad Cities were especially hard hit, leading to staffing challenges and a long list of cancelled blood drives. But teams in all regions came together to provide for staff and continue meeting patient needs, despite the storm.

storm damage in Cedar RapidsCedar Rapids took the most damage, and team members there remember the Derecho well. Donor Services staff were working at a blood drive at UnityPoint Health Saint Luke’s Hospital and at the Cedar Rapids – West Donor Center. Shyneeta Rush had just returned from the first shift at the hospital blood drive and arrived at the Donor Center just before the storm. She joined Trent Pilkington and others to help move equipment, discontinue donors, and clean up water that had blown in through windows on the west side of the building. Once it was safe to drive across town, other team members pitched in to help as well.

Lisa Sparrow, Manager, Donor Relations, recalls the support that came from outside the region. “The day after the storm, I started seeing emails and texts from my colleagues, all offering each other a place to stay, access to laundry, money, gas, generators, ice, everything,” Sparrow said. Staffing needs included providing ice from the Donor Centers that staff could use to help preserve food at home. Team members could also pick up bottled water and other provisions at work while utility crews worked to restore electricity and clear roads across the region.

“The resources we were given went really above and beyond expectations for most employers,” said Sparrow. “It was a hard time, but I know everyone felt supported.”

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About The Author

Kirby Winn

Kirby Winn serves as Manager, Public Relations for Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, Central Illinois Community Blood Center, and Community Blood Services of Illinois. He enjoys working with media to share the stories of patients who have been helped by the generous volunteers w

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