Crisis reveals character. When an EF-1 tornado hit the small town of Lake City, Iowa, on May 10, pork producers from Calhoun County and Webster County were among the first to volunteer to help those in need.

Lake City tornado cleanup May 2015“We wanted to do whatever we could to lend a hand,” said Gregg Hora, a Webster County pork producer and vice president of resources for the Iowa Pork Producers Association. “We were glad to fire up our grills and cook pork burgers.”

The burgers offered a bit a comfort on May 12 as cleanup efforts continued in town, where the tornado had ripped the roof off of the South Central Calhoun High School. Pork producers served some 300 pork burgers to cleanup crews, South Central Calhoun teachers, students and other volunteers who were picking up debris.

Lake City tornado cleanup May 2015“Pork burgers are always good, but these were awesome and much appreciated,” said Pati Jo Daisy of Lake City, a retired K-12 library/media specialist who helped move books out of the South Central Calhoun library. “There’s nothing like a hot, comforting meal, especially after surviving a tornado and being without electricity for hours.”

Over in 15 Seconds

When the tornado hit the town of 1,700 people, more than 100 students, teachers and family members were attending a senior awards night program at the high school. Around 7:30 p.m., the crowd was warned to take cover in the basement as a tornado roared into town.

The ordeal was over in about 15 seconds, although a second storm blew up less than an hour later Lake City tornado cleanup May 2015and pounded parts of the area with hail and heavy rain. As people cautiously stepped outside to survey the damage and check on their neighbors, everyone was relieved to have escaped Mother Nature’s wrath without a single serious injury or fatality.

The American Red Cross, which was one of the first groups to respond to the disaster, praised the local pork producers for helping feed the community during the recovery phase.

“These folks are great,” said Tammy Lee, executive director for the northwest Iowa chapter of the Red Cross. “Pork producers are always willing to do what it takes to help out and give back to the community.”

Lake City grilling May 12 2015 2-1This is just one example of how producers focus on the pork industry’s We CareSM ethical principles, which include producing safe food and contributing to a better quality of life in local communities.

“Reaching out to our non-farm friends and neighbors is an important way to build strong communities,” Hora said. “We were glad to be in Lake City and will continue to look for ways to help where we’re needed.”