July 18, 2024

Local leaders visit with Governor Reynolds about tornado cleanup

Governor Kim Reynolds and Adair & Guthrie County EMA Coordinator Jeremy Cooper listen to peoples' concerns during a meeting covering disaster relief efforts in Greenfield and Adair County Tuesday, June 11.

Governor Kim Reynolds was back in Greenfield Tuesday, June 11 to receive a closer look at how things are going as the area recovers from a tornado that hit three weeks earlier.

While the Governor was impressed by the headway made in cleanup efforts, she publicly pressured insurance companies to be more on the ball in assisting residents who are ready to rebuild.

“Insurance, you know, needs to make a decision, let people know where they stand with that, because that’s the first thing. That’s where it starts,” Reynolds told television stations covering the visit. “We have to have insurance companies weigh in, say what they’re going to cover, if it is totally damaged, or whatever that may be.”

Reynolds said once insurance companies weigh in, FEMA and other organizations will be more able to step in to help fill some of the financial gaps.

Adair and Guthrie County Emergency Management Coordinator Jeremy Cooper reports he and a team of local leaders were able to sit down with Reynolds at Greenfield City Hall and have a candid discussion to talk about some hurdles the affected are facing and the good things that have happened.

In general, Cooper said many of the hurdles residents are facing can be described as “bureaucratic red tape.”

“Everybody wants to hold back progress when we just need to keep moving forward,” he said.

There are potentially 30 homes that are half-demolished and should be seen as a public safety issue, Cooper stated. Many of these homeowners are uninsured or severely under-insured.

There are two non-profit groups in the area who are willing to work with homeowners to tear down their partially-demolished home free of charge or for a donation. Many of these homes have already been taken down, others have not. There will be a deadline for this process to be completed by, however that is still being determined. Cooper said he hopes that teamwork will be used in determining when that deadline is so no property owners are caught off guard.

Cooper remains encouraged by the teamwork that has gone into the recovery from the tornado in the area.

“Everything’s been going really well. There are always hurdles with anything. There have been headaches, but we’ve worked through them all,” Cooper said. “Every hurdle that pops up, we get up and over it. Just looking through town here, it’s amazing what’s been done. That’s all good, and that’s all that matters.”

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson has served as News Editor of the Adair County Free Press and Fontanelle Observer since Oct. 2017. He and his wife Kilee live in Greenfield. In Greenfield and the greater Adair County area, he values the opportunity to tell peoples' stories, enjoys playing guitar, following all levels of sports, and being a part of his local church.