Globals-bound team comes home to tornado

Posted by on April 18, 2011

At 7:20 p.m. following the State Tournament held in Ames on April 9th, 2011, a tornado three-quarters-of-a-mile wide with winds of at least 136 miles per hour swept through the town of Mapleton, located in northwest Iowa. Four high school students who had competed at the Destination ImagiNation├é┬« Tournament that day left early to participate in a play at their school, never realizing the true life drama that would ensue. Five minutes into their performance, tornado sirens began howling, sending everyone to shelter. Trees were ripped from the earth and flew through windows, one of the boys lost his family’s car, and sixty percent of the community was flattened. Fortunately, no lives were lost during this horrific event, but many homes and businesses in Mapleton were destroyed.

The four Mapleton students who performed at the Destination ImagiNation Tournament qualified to advance to Global Finals at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville on May 25-28, where they will compete against teams from all over the U.S. and 30 countries. To get to Global Finals, every team member must raise $610 for room and board, plus additional dollars for state T-shirts and trading pins, and transportation for participants, chaperones and props. Ordinarily a team is able to count on its community for fundraising support, but the assistance the team would normally receive from Mapleton is now focused on a massive clean-up and rebuilding effort.

In recognition of these extraordinary circumstances and the special challenges facing The Laser Tag Team from Mapleton, Students for a Creative Iowa is awarding a one-time special distribution of $500 to this team from the Kitch-Eilerts Memorial Scholarship Fund. This scholarship was established in part to honor the memory of a Destination ImagiNation participant named Aaron Eilerts who died when a tornado struck his Boy Scout camp on June 11, 2008.

If you would like to assist the Mapleton team or any of Iowa’s Destination ImagiNation Global Finals teams in their journey to Global Finals, please e-mail to request contact information for that team. Include in your e-mail the name of the team you would like to support, the list of which may be found HERE.

If you would like to support the Mapleton relief effort, you can mail your donation to:

Mapleton Tornado Relief Fund
c/o First State of Mapleton
P.O. Box 78
Mapleton, IA 51038