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Heartland Flood: Students in Hamburg build home for flood-stricken Iowa family

Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 5:08 PM CST
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HAMBURG, Iowa (WOWT) - Students in Hamburg are coming together to help lift up a family hit hard by last year’s historic flood.

From the youngest of students to the oldest, all hands are on deck to complete the construction of home across the street from Hamburg’s public school.

“We’ve been flooded before so it feels good to help a family that’s been flooded,” said 7th grader, Tessa Schoville.

The students told 6 News they’re learning a lot along the way.

“Trying new things and learning how to help build a house,” said 7th grader Hilda Thompson, who also added it feels good to help out.

This the first house the school’s built, and they’re getting some unexpected help.

“We found out that the school was taking on this enormous project and we wanted to be a part of it so we offered our assistance,” said Ryan Johnson, executive director of One Family One Purpose.

The organization helps communities all over the world, and they’re impressed by what’s going on in Hamburg.

“I can’t say enough about this elementary and junior high school,” said Johnson. “The skills that they’re teaching these kids, they come over here and they’re not shy of anything.”

The pandemic has slowed the project down, but they’re starting to close in.

“To actually see it starting to go up actually gives me hope that it’s going to be finished and I’m excited for the people who are actually going to move into it,” said 8th grader, Kristin Ingrem.

And the family moving in is also excited. “It was almost like winning the lottery,” said Amy Barker. “It just seems unreal right now, you know, and I guess it will all sink in when it’s done and we walk in.”

It’s a big step in her family’s comeback from last year’s devastation.

“The flood wasn’t supposed to get to the house, so we didn’t move anything,” said Barker. “And then the barrier broke, so we had about 20 minutes to throw whatever we could upstairs or grab whatever we could.”

Living in motels and RV’s for months, figuring out the next move; now hoping to be in their own home for Christmas.

“Sometimes I almost feel guilty, that someone else may deserve it more than I do, but everyone just reminds to take it a blessing and move forward,” said Barker.

Hamburg schools’ superintendent said they plan to build another house next year. It’s all part of their hands-on curriculum that includes a lot of project-based learning, and it’s made possible entirely through donations.

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