The Course of Reason

UNIFI is Good Without God in Vinton

July 26, 2011

Residents of Vinton, Iowa are still recovering from a storm that tore through their small town two weeks ago. It brought winds upwards of 130 miles per hour that destroyed buildings, rolled cars, and uprooted trees. I was shocked by how much damage a relatively quick wind storm could do after surveying the damage for myself on my way into town. Luckily, there were not many injuries, and no deaths to the best of my knowledge.

Several of our members are Vinton natives, and we saw this as a great opportunity for a service event. The town had been labeled a disaster area, and even weeks after the storm they needed help. We had been planning a day of paint-balling for that Saturday, but we decided that volunteering had to come first when we were made aware of the situation. So 8 of us loaded up into two vehicles and made the drive towards Vinton. When we arrived, we were met by one of our members who is a resident, and after some confusion about which parts of the town needed the help the most, we split into two groups. One went to a residential part of town to clean up trees from homes, and the other group went to a local cemetery that still needed significant work.’

We worked for hours with other residents who were volunteering their time (and tools - thank goodness for chain saws) to get the cemetery cleaned up. We all ended up there by the end of the day, and after a late lunch, we went back to work. The group we were with only quit when a storm rolled in and it started raining. We were all exhausted, sweaty, and covered in sap and pine needles. And that is nothing compared to the other local volunteers who had no doubt been working for days.

We didn’t clean up the whole town in a day, and most of the work has already been done or will be done by others, but we definitely did make a difference. We removed most of several very large trees, and left the cemetery much better looking than we found it. It’s my hope that in the future, UNIFI can continue to give back to our community, not just in Cedar Falls, but wherever we can. We already have several service events being planned for next year, and those will just be the beginning. We would welcome anyone to participate in these events, so if you are interested in working with us, stay tuned for more information about our service plans.

This post originally appeared on the UNI Freethinkers & Inquirers blog.

If your student organization is doing any service projects let us know at



About the Author: Michael Dippold

Michael Dippold's photo
Michael Dippold is a junior at the University of Northern Iowa studying economics. He also serves as the Director of Finance for the University of Northern Iowa Freethinkers & Inquirers, and loves almost everything about the atheist movement.




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