When the devastating EF 3 tornado tore through Marshalltown, Iowa, on Thursday afternoon, LeAnn Wilkerson was getting her eyes checked at the clinic attached to the hospital where she works.
The lifetime member of the Carlton Grace Brethren Church in nearby Garwin, Iowa, was directed, along with other patients and staff, to the basement where they stayed for the next hour or so until the danger had passed.
“I’ve never been through a tornado,” she recalled, “and I hope I never have to again,” she added as she recalled how the winds through the hallways were louder than the sirens in the building.
In the aftermath, LeAnn, who is a receptionist at the hospital, helped clean debris from the helicopter pad and comforted patients. The storm tore a four-block swath through the community, she said.
The church itself, located in the country nearly 9 miles due east of Marshalltown, did not sustain any damage. “It [the tornado] stopped before it got there,” said LeAnn.
“If the tornado had kept going, it would have hit the new power plant at Marshalltown and then hit the church,” echoed Mary Mann, another long-time church member who was working at the OBGYN clinic at the hospital in Marshalltown when the storm hit.
Josh Miller, pastor, adds, “We didn’t sustain any damage this time. About a month ago a storm blew some siding off the church though. Some of our people work at a local factory, Lennox, and they are wondering what to do as Lennox was destroyed.”
He anticipates that the congregation will come together to help with clean-up in the area.
Pray for the Garwin congregation, that they will have compassion for their neighbors as they come alongside them during this time.