Biodiesel to aid Parkersburg tornado recovery

By Anna Austin | June 17, 2008
Web exclusive posted June 24, 2008 at 1:41 p.m. CST

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and plants in the Ames, Iowa-based Renewable Energy Group Inc. network announced June 13 a $10,000 donation toward the purchase of biodiesel to aid the recovery effort of the town of Parkersburg, Iowa, and the surrounding communities. An F5 tornado ravaged the town Memorial Day weekend, leaving a path of devastation behind. Shortly after, the IRFA and REG fueled a statewide effort to accumulate dollars for donating.

"The idea was to round the price of diesel up to $5 a gallon and ask people if they would like to donate just a gallon," an REG representative told Biodiesel Magazine. "We have been overwhelmed by the participation in this fundraising activity."

KCPS Radio in West Burlington, Iowa, donated $1,000 accumulated from listeners, and although the deadline for helping to purchase biodiesel has passed, persistence to help continues. "My sidekick and I raised the money from our listeners in just one week," said Chip Giannettino, KCPS station owner and morning show host. "In fact, we'll exceed $1,000 as donations are still drifting in."

Numerous energy companies donated $500, including the IRFA; REG; Western Dubuque Biodiesel in Farley, Iowa; and Central Iowa Energy in Newton, Iowa. GATX Rail and the Iowa Biodiesel Board were also noted donators among dozens of others.

"The team in Parkersburg has expressed that it is very excited to receive the fuel, and it will go to great use," the REG representative said. "Unfortunately, the entire state of Iowa is feeling the impact of severe weather from tornadoes to flooding. As has been said over and over again during this crisis, Iowans are resilient. We offer aid to our neighbors. This is our way to helping our Iowa neighbors to fuel the effort to start to rebuild their community."

The donated biodiesel will be used to fuel equipment required for the cleanup and restoration of Parkersburg. "We felt that donating biodiesel to the recovery effort would be a uniquely Iowa way of lending a hand," said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw.

Bob's Farm Center in Conrad, Iowa, and Wellsburg Ag in Wellsburg, Iowa, are partnering to distribute the fuel.
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