Small Town Spotlight: Hornick, Iowa, Five Months after the Flood

Aug 28, 2019


Given the scope of the devastation, some small towns would have simply folded, but that was never an option for Hornick, Iowa (population: 250). In the wake of historic flooding this past March, residents buckled down, determined to clean up their homes and get back to business as usual.

“This town has a real sense of community,” said Capt. Chris Clarke of the Sioux City Corps, which has assisted Hornick with long-term recovery efforts since the start of the disaster. “The people here have become like family to us.”

The Salvation Army of Sioux City hosted a community steak dinner and a school supplies giveaway in Hornick on August 12. “We are trying to do everything we can to help residents in their long-term recovery,” said Capt. Chris.

“We were able to get all our school supplies for the year here tonight,” said Julie Byers, who stopped by the dinner and backpack drive with her seventh-grade son. Back in March the Byers family had two feet of water in the main floor of their house. Ultimately, they had to gut the main floor and reconstruct the foundation.

“This town wouldn’t have come nearly as far as we have without The Salvation Army’s help,” added Byers. “We appreciate it so much.”

In addition to providing three home-cooked meals a day in the early weeks of recovery, Capts. Chris and April Clarke and their team of volunteers went door-to-door to assess needs and help keep residents hydrated as they began the daunting clean-up process. Because many Hornick residents did not have flood insurance and were not eligible for FEMA funds, the gift cards to home improvement stores and the $500 grants provided by The Salvation Army helped those impacted by the flooding purchase building materials, pay utility bills, make mortgage and rent payments and refill prescription medications.

“The people here have been through so much,” said John Hariluk, a recently retired truck driver who came from Sioux City to volunteer at the dinner. “Being here makes me feel part of the community and lifts my spirits,” he said, turning hot dogs and steaks on the grill.

Julie Byers agrees. “We are a really tight-knit community, and everyone here helps each other,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now.”

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