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Riverside Cemetery in Marshalltown still rebuilding 2 years after derecho

By the time the Aug. 10, 2020 derecho finally passed, the cemetery and its grounds were leveled.

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — More than 23,000 people have been buried at the Riverside Cemetery in Marshalltown. Two years ago on Aug. 10, their long rest was interrupted by a derecho that devastated Iowa.

Even after all that time, some scars still haven't healed. 

"It was the worst storm I've ever experienced in my 66 years," said Dorie Tammen, the cemetery's general manager.

When the August 2020 storm hit, Tammen was hiding inside the main office. 

"I kept coming out and peering through the windows, and you could barely see the lake for the driving rain and stuff flying around," she said.

By the time the derecho finally passed, the cemetery and its grounds were decimated. 

Trees were down across the 100-acre property and headstones were damaged. The cemetery had to be closed for five weeks.

They were able to host a few funerals, but attendants stationed at the front gate had to keep people out for the most part.

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The costs to make necessary repairs really added up.

"Our tree removal bill was $700,000," Tammen said. "We're still paying that off, we have about $35,000 left on that."

Just last week, the cemetery finished installing new chain-link fencing around the grounds. While some parts of the cemetery get their finishing touches, other repairs still haven't been wrapped up

"The recovery is still going on. We still have root balls and tree stumps that need to be taken out," she said. 

If you are interested in helping Riverside pay off the remaining repair bills, visit out the cemetery's GoFundMe page.

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WATCH: Marshalltown cemetery in shambles following derecho | August 2020

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