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Iowa State University Extension

Greiner returns to handle structural, other issues with flooded homes

Tom Greiner

Tom Greiner had read about the 2008 Iowa floods in the Arizona Republic and watched the video footage, so he knew the flooding was extensive. He also knew that since his retirement in 2003, ISU Extension was without a housing engineer. Once an extension specialist, always an extension specialist — so when ISU Extension administration asked him to come back home to help Iowans deal with structural and related issues in their flood-damaged homes, he agreed to un-retire.

ISU Extension has rehired Greiner part-time, and he reported for duty at the ISU Extension office in Linn County Sept. 15.

“I spent that week meeting with people whose homes had been flooded, a building official, a volunteer coordinator, contractors and others,” Greiner said. “I was able to visit Palo and Cedar Rapids, with a brief drive-through in Iowa City. Driving through the affected areas and experiencing the extent of the damage gave me a new perspective, though I realize I have still only seen a small part of the Iowa flood damage.”

During the next nine months he’ll be available for consultations by phone and e-mail from his home in Mesa, Ariz., and will travel to Iowa and work from the Linn County office in Marion to meet one-on-one with Iowans as needed.

“People don’t have a lot of time for meetings right now; they have a lot of individual questions,” Greiner said. “This might change as people get more settled and winter stops some of their cleaning, demolition and construction activities.”

Greiner has been through floods before. He was part of ISU Extension’s flood response team in 1993 — meeting with homeowners, answering questions and preparing ISU Extension publications on flood related topics ranging from moldy dry wall to rotting wood and wet basements.

This time around he expects to handle similar topics. However he also anticipates dealing with issues related to the coming cold weather: such as the danger of heating a home with space heaters and gas-powered generators, and the need to brace a gutted home that’s missing siding or sheathing so it doesn’t collapse from the force of winter winds.

Greiner can be contacted via the Linn County Extension office.

This article appeared in October 2008 -- From Jack Payne Newsletter