The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


August 10, 2012

LEVINE: Residents step up to help with storm cleanup

CLINTON — The Fulton Country Club should have been closed for a week.

The storm that blew through on Saturday knocked down trees and caused damage all over the Gateway area, including the golf course in Fulton.

With the biggest tournament of the year happening, the Ottens Memorial tournament, country club staff could ill afford a major storm. But that’s what happened, forcing about 100 people in the clubhouse, Kathy Eizenga, the clubhouse manager at the golf club, said.

When all the damage was surveyed, it became clear that no one would be allowed back out on the course Saturday, and it was described as a war zone to Eizenga.

“When this first happened, there was a guy from Indiana who said he had worked at golf courses all my life,” Eizenga said. There’s no way this will be open for a week, he said.

He overheard Eizenga discuss bringing in volunteers to help clean up the mess, which included at least 60 damaged trees, prompting the man to say that volunteers wouldn’t be good enough.

“He didn’t know Fulton well,” Eizenga said.

Eizenga and another staff member called about 10 people and tried to get them to create a phone tree about possibly picking up a few twigs on Sunday and attempting to get the course opened by the end of the week.

By 7:30 a.m. Sunday, 58 people were ready to work, equipped with trucks, trailers, tractors and chainsaws. The parking lot was full and by the time 5:30 p.m. rolled around, the members, non-members and high school kids that showed up were finished, leaving the rest of the mess for another group that came Monday.

On Tuesday morning the golf course opened up again, albeit without any power. That didn’t get restored until Tuesday night.

“I’m just utterly amazed at how well they pulled together,” Eizenga said.

That’s the beauty of small towns.

Most residents in Fulton didn’t have power, but that didn’t matter. They knew an organization needed their help, so they stepped up.

There were plenty of these stories happening all weekend, with neighbors helping out neighbors and strangers offering help to people with downed trees and no power. A town’s identity is truly shown when adversity strikes, and Fulton, along with Clinton, showcased plenty of cohesiveness.

There are things that could have been better, like the loss of power for multiple days in Fulton, but people were working around the clock to make sure all the debris was cleaned up and eventually power was restored.

Fulton and Clinton’s city workers were put to the test by having to clear streets and get people back to normal, with no obstructions in the streets.

By the time I ventured out Sunday morning, Pershing Boulevard looked like a mess. Trees were all over yards, but the streets were clear. City crews were hard at work after the storm to at least make the roadway passable, and then hit the streets Monday to pick up the debris.

Fulton had a similar reaction from city crews and everything was pretty much clear even before the power was restored.

Although Saturday’s storm caused a lot of damage, it gave this area hope that when something bad does happen, there will be plenty of volunteers to help.

Scott Levine is the Associate Editor of the Clinton Herald. He can be reached at

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With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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