Dorothea Bachmann could be described as the Grandmother of Mapleton. Townspeople told me that she had the Community Center opened as a Red Cross shelter ‘before the wind stopped blowing.’
When I asked the seventy-three year-old Red Cross Volunteer about this she laughed and told me, “Oh- no dear… I checked to see if my neighbors were ok first.” And that she did.
Dorothea’s house was one of the few that survived last Saturday nights EF3 tornado that ripped through Mapleton, Iowa affecting 220 homes. As soon as the storm ceased she grabbed a Coleman lantern, ventured out to check on her neighbors then headed to open a shelter at the Mapleton Community Center with help of local law enforcement.
Her motherly instincts, and Red Cross training, kicked-in as she knew people would need safe place to stay that night. Dorothea has been a Red Cross volunteer for over 15 years but has also lived through more tornadoes then she can count.
“This was both the largest and the quietest tornado I have ever experienced,” Dorothea said. “Mapleton is very very blessed. There were no injuries, no deaths and ample warning.”
Dorothea has been seen all week walking around the Community Center distributing many things- the main thing being hugs. “It’s a good feeling to be able to help,” she said. “It’s really no different than helping at any disaster, but it's great to be able to serve my friends. I think this is what the Lord wanted me to do with my life.”