Tree removals, roofing repairs first priority with new storms rolling in


PLEASANT HILL, Iowa — Only four days after the EF 1 tornado touched down late Friday night in Pleasant Hill, and workers are working overtime to clean up debris.

“We’re working overtime, all the hours, dark to dark,” said Cody Wonderlich, co-owner of Big Enough Tree Service. “We go home and start messaging clients, who’s next on the watch list, who needs the most urgent help.”

Big Enough Tree Service is a father/son duo, who have been helping clients keep their trees healthy over the last decade. A lot of them live in Pleasant Hill.

“It’s just really a lot of emotions. We don’t exist to cut trees down, that’s not what we’re in business for. We’re in business to serve our clients,” said Bill Wonderlich, the other co-owner of the company. “First of all, it starts with that big hug and assurance that things are going to be okay. We’re here to help you, we’re not storm chasers, this is our home. I lived here in Pleasant Hill since ’83. So most of these people we know personally either from the grocery store or we’ve done work for them before.”

Take a look: Viewers share photos of hail from Tuesday’s storms

Dozens of trips have been made to haul broken branches and grinded up stumps, along with countless hours put in over the last several days — all while having to be efficient, dealing with other utility vehicles helping out other residents of Pleasant Hill, and dodging storms.

There is also danger in removing trees that are stacked on top of each other.

“Any type of storm cleanup, it’s really unpredictable as to where the stress is on that branch that you’re carrying or the trunk. If it’s still attached to the ground, you may take the weight off the upper tree and it will want to set itself back up,” said Bill, “…it’s dangerous work. And that’s where we’ve been working long hours, safety really has to be at the top of my mind.”

The father and son are also grateful for some of the trees that weren’t damaged enough or aren’t laying flat on the ground. If they are able to keep a tree in the ground, that’s the goal.

“We talk about some near misses or as we call them, miracles and blessings. Right. You see the tree here still standing. That’s the one closest to the house. Right? How did that not go on the house? So there’s a lot of blessings hidden and a lot of things to be thankful for,” said Cody. “A lot of the homeowners, you know, losing 100-year-old trees. And we like to raise trees up and nurture them and help them survive. It’s devastating seeing a lot of part of this community lose their canopy. But we’re hoping we can grow back greater than ever.”

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