Topic: Disaster Relief and Recovery
When tornadoes devastated northeast Iowa in the spring of 2008, killing seven people and flattening hundreds of homes, KWWL-TV in Waterloo, Iowa, responded by organizing a "Neighbors Helping Neighbors" disaster relief drive. The one-day fundraiser began at 5 a.m. the day after the storm and by 10 p.m., Eastern Iowans had contributed more than $335,000 to help survivors in the aftermath. Donations poured in throughout the day by phone, online and "drive-through" style in the parking lot of the KWWL studio. A half-hour telethon special in the evening featured Gov. Chet Culver, who thanked the station for its fundraising efforts on the air. Money raised went to the Hawkeye Chapter of the American Red Cross, a lead organization in recovery efforts. "Pulling this off in less than 24 hours was a challenge, but the incredible response made all of the work worthwhile," said Jon Okerstrom, KWWL news director. "Storm survivors were coming up to our crews thanking them for what we were doing."
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