To one family in Roseland, Duane Drost is an angel.
Andrew and Erin Trausch lost their home in the May 6th tornado that ripped through the small town of Roseland. They have five young children, and their youngest daughter has cerebral palsy and uses a motorized wheelchair for mobility. The main floor of Andrew and Erin’s house had been remodeled to be fully handicapped accessible to meet her needs.
In the week ensuing the tornado, Andrew and Erin’s family of seven had to be split; some of them lived with Erin’s mom in Roseland and some of them lived with family friends a few blocks away. The family quickly made plans to rebuild in the same spot their house had stood, but getting a new house takes time, and they want to be together during this time.
Housing options in a town of 235 people are minimal. Housing options in a town of 235 for a family of seven needing a handicapped accessible house are nonexistent. Andrew and Erin want to stay in Roseland to be close to Erin’s mom and to be close to where their new house will be.
This is where farmer (agricultural engineer) Duane Drost enters the story.
About two years ago, Duane Drost started a non-profit organization called Bless You, Inc. Based in Milford, Iowa, Bless You, Inc. has one simple goal: to give people a place to live when a natural disaster takes their home away from them. Duane personally delivers the fully stocked campers to the disaster stricken area, and lets families live in them, free of charge, for up to one year while they rebuild their homes and their lives. There’s no catch. He only asks that a local church or non-profit group sponsor the usage of the camper to make sure the family’s basic needs of food and water are met while they are homeless and to make sure the camper stays where it should stay.
Duane has some very specific reasons for the charity work he does through Bless You, Inc. His life hasn’t been an easy one, and he has faced a list of seemingly insurmountable hardships. The only way to understand the full impact of what Duane has experienced is to hear his story in person. Duane credits God with bringing him through his darkest times, and he knows that God has a purpose for him here on earth. That purpose is to help others in need.
Exactly one week after the tornado, Duane delivered a camper to Roseland for Andrew and Erin to live in while they wait for a house. They are parking the camper next to Erin’s mom’s house. It’s not quite big enough for all of them to sleep in at night, but it definitely has room for the seven of them to be together again for some family time. Even though some family members will sleep in the house and some will sleep in the camper, they will only be a few feet away from each other now instead of a few blocks away.
Some of us from Roseland were blessed enough to have lunch and spend a couple of hours with Duane while he was in town, and this is what we learned from this incredible man and his story: love, forgive, and pay it forward.
To learn more about Duane’s ministry and to support his cause, visit www.blessyouinc.com.