Cedar Rapids GE Volunteers Council

Daily Point of Light # 3814 Sep 16, 2008

From the nominator:

“Many of us are aware of the unfortunate disaster that struck the heart of Iowa at the beginning of June. In times like these, the magnitude of the tragedy often overshadows the brave work of local volunteers who are on the ground assisting those in need. GE would like to highlight and applaud the efforts of our fellow GE employees in the Cedar Rapids area who rose to the challenge in support of their coworkers and community.

On Thursday June 12th, despite severe obstacles such as weather, closed roads and dangerous conditions, GE employees in the area sprang into action

After the GE Commercial Finance leadership team in the Cedar Rapids had enacted the site disaster recovery plan and contacted each employee, concern then shifted toward how to help affected employees recover from the flood.

Krista Neumann, IKON Financial, and her husband spent Thursday night filling and placing sandbags for the Cedar Rapids Water Department. Their efforts helped to save a water well—the only one in Cedar Rapids that would survive the flood. From there, they moved to Mercy Hospital where they helped until 3 am. Volunteer firefighter Joseph Honn, GE Commercial Finance, awoke Friday morning and jumped in a boat to do rescue operations with other volunteers. That day, his crew assisted six people and six animals that had been trapped in their homes by the swiftly rising water.

GE Volunteers began to help as soon as people could re-enter their homes. Among the top priorities were to retrieve belongings and "muck", shoveling flood debris and mud out of homes. Later, GE volunteers helped to remove drywall and floorboards.

Thus far, the Cedar Rapids site has volunteered over 900 hours on behalf of GE Volunteers and hundreds more individually. Though the worst may be over, it will be a long time before the greater Cedar Rapids area will recover from the floods of 2008. As the citizens of Iowa try to piece their lives back together, there is no doubt that GE employees will be there with them every step of the way.

Nicole Lindsey, GE Commercial Finance, one of the benefactors of the relief effort said, "With all of the devastation in my home, I didn't think that an afternoon of GE Volunteers would put much of a dent in the work needed. I couldn't have been more wrong." By the end of the day, Nicole had been assisted by volunteers across five different GE departments.

GE Volunteers also assisted the City of Cedar Rapids—building a database of flood-damaged homes, cataloging artifacts for the African American Museum, answering phones at United Way 2-1-1, manning concessions at fundraisers and caring for displaced pets at a temporary animal shelter. Employees also volunteered their time outside of GE Volunteers events, mucking local houses and businesses, cleaning up debris and doing everything they could to help their community.”