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The mayor, the groundskeeper and the town historian: Meet one of Nevada's cleanup crews

The historic Evergreen Lane, built in 1877, was just one of several areas in Nevada that sustained damage after Mondays derecho.

NEVADA, Iowa — Chainsaws have been roaring across the town of Nevada this week, one of the many Iowa communities that suffered destruction from Monday's powerful derecho storm.

Mayor Brett Barker said, though the damage is overwhelming, it has been refreshing to spend time along community members cleaning up.

"Honestly, it was a little bit refreshing to unplug a little bit from all of the stuff going on outside of Iowa," said Barker. "[And] we even have controversial issues in front of our City Council right now. And it was nice to put all that work aside and just work side-by-side with community members and clean stuff up."

Wednesday, he worked alongside the father-son duo of Kris and Henry Corbin, helping saw and load lumber away from the historic site Evergreen Lane. 

It's a regal brick building that was built in 1877. Like many Nevada sites, it has a rich family history.

"Really the stories that go along with structures ... it resounds to people in Nevada. Like so many Midwestern communities," Henry said.

Henry has been dubbed the town historian, an anomaly, considering he's only 23 years old. 

"Just kind of got pulled into history early on," said Henry. "It's just always been something that's been fun to me and made sense and clicked."

Like his son Henry, Kris also has a genuine passion for telling the stories behind many of the sites in the town. Several, like Evergreen Lane, had parts that were damaged beyond repair.  

10 different trees are on the property, and they believe they may have lot a few species. At this point, it's hard to tell.

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"It just makes me feel sad," said Kris. "I consider this a park that people in Nevada can come and share. Now that we got people come around here that can't just sit on the porch and they can't come sit on the fence. As for myself, I look over here and  I think, what a waste."

Over on 11th Street, Nevada resident Nick Shaull surveyed the damage on his roof. There were holes in his porch roof and main roof of his home, left by massive trees that punctured through.

Residential damage in Nevada.

Posted by Eva Andersen on Thursday, August 13, 2020

"I got a call [from my wife] at about 11, saying she thought the tree had come down," said Schaull, who said his wife had eight daycare children in the basement. "There's probably a 30-foot hole in the roof, it busted a bunch of rafters."

RELATED: 'We're definitely just trying to survive out here': Iowa farmers react to extensive crop damage

His six-year-old daughter, Eva, said, "It made a big boom! It was a little scary."

Ultimately, Mayor Barker says he feels a sense of gratitude by how many people have stepped up to help.

"Seeing all these new relationships forming will only make us better in the long run."

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