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Red Cross Fundraiser will Mark Anniversary of 2008 Tornado

Iowa Red Cross, Fundraiser to Mark Anniversary of 2008 Tornados Photo
There’s a lot of people out there who just are not aware. ... When I joined, I had no idea what the Red Cross does.

There are still tickets available for “Props to the Red Cross,” the organization’s spring fundraiser set for Friday at Sky Event Centre.

The event will mark the fifth anniversary of the tornado that swept through Parkersburg, New Hartford and rural Black Hawk County and the flooding that devastated dozens of Iowa communities in 2008, as well as recognize the heroes who emerged from those disasters.

Heroes like Joe Barry of Cedar Falls. Barry, a retired construction planner with Cedar Falls Utilities, has been a Red Cross volunteer for seven years. He was one of 40 volunteers from the Hawkeye Chapter of the Red Cross involved in the 2008 relief efforts. Following the tornado, Barry worked in the emergency operations center as the Red Cross liaison, relaying information from people in the field to city and state agencies. He hauled supplies during the flooding.

Barry is no stranger to relief work. He’s been in Pennsylvania for flooding, California for wildfires and Kansas for ice storms.

He thinks Friday’s event is important for two reasons.

“It’s a good fundraiser, and it gets the Red Cross out to the public,” he said. “There’s a lot of people out there who just are not aware. ... When I joined, I had no idea what the Red Cross does.”

Pami Erickson of Waterloo agrees. She is the chapter’s support officer.

“We are getting the word out,” she said. “The Red Cross is more than donating blood, more than national disasters. We are here for people in our community.

“In 2012, 153 individuals in the Hawkeye Chapter’s area were affected by home fires. The Red Cross was there to help those victims. We’re here in the trenches in our own community.”

Friday’s fundraiser will begin with social hour from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

“That will give guests a chance to look at our silent auction items,” Erickson said.

A ring toss wine game and a balloon pop also will take place at that time.

Dinner, ribs and chicken catered by Famous Dave’s will be served at 6:30 p.m. Hy-Vee will provide beverages.

Bob Westerman and Jenni Bear from 93.5 The Mix will be on hand, and Gary Kroeger will emcee a program following the dinner.

“We will be remembering those who went through the disasters of 2008 and honoring those who came to their rescue,” she said.