Like many of her fellow community members, Nicole found herself in the middle of a routine day on July 19, 2018. “I just got home from work, and about 3:15 p.m. the sirens went off for the first time,” Nicole explains. Once home, Nicole frantically gathered her family — her father (Dan), daughter (Jeannae), and her two pups (Abbi and Shadow) — into her basement. As the tornado raged above, she recalls being huddled face to face with her father. “I will never forget the look that we gave each other,” Nicole begins. “I immediately started praying for the people of Marshalltown to be safe. When we were in the basement, upstairs sounded like my daughter and two dogs were running circles around the living room.”
In the midst of the aftermath, Nicole couldn’t help but think about the doubly inopportune time to be struck with such devastation. “I had been in Marshalltown for 22 years and never experienced something like this. We were listed to sell the house the day the tornado hit. The garage was actually picked up and slid on its side. The tornado split down the middle and flew into the living room and all the windows were taken out.”
Nicole likes to think that Habitat Iowa answered the prayers she professed while trapped in her basement. “Habitat went above and beyond with what they had to do."
Nicole likes to think that Habitat Iowa answered the prayers she professed while trapped in her basement. “Habitat went above and beyond with what they had to do. I was so thankful for the ReBloom program,” she explains. “They fixed my fence and those roses they planted were so beautiful! I got so many compliments from that. That fence was a huge deal, too. It meant a lot to be able to let my dogs out and not have to worry about them.”
With all that Habitat has done, Nicole realizes that there is far more work to be done, and she feels inspired to help her community push that forward. “I think the biggest challenge will be the feeling of the let down of being this far out and still being this far away from everything being back to the way it was. I don’t want to see the tendency to help one another get lost as we get closer to the second year anniversary. We are in this together! If my neighbor succeeds, I succeed.”