Morton Business Buzz: Menold Construction and Restoration

Heather Swick Morton Chamber of Commerce Volunteer Writer
Menold Construction and Restoration has helped Washington victims since the Nov. 17 tornado.

After 37 years, Menold Construction and Restoration is a fixture in the Central Illinois community.

People turn to Menold when they find mold in their walls, their basement floods or their roof leaks.

But this year, the Menold team is tackling a project of an entirely new magnitude: helping to mend the communities that were ravaged by the Nov. 17 tornados.

Vice President Steve Driscoll said in over two decades of working at Menold, he has never seen so much destruction.

“We deal with many catastrophes on an annual basis, but I had never seen anything like this with my own eyes,” he said. “Half an hour after the tornados hit, our phones blew up with calls.”

Within hours of the tornados hitting East Peoria, Pekin and Washington, the Menold team brought in crews and fully stocked trailers to dispatch to the affected communities.

“We worked all day, every day until the state police kicked us out at night,” Driscoll said. “We focused on ones where we could get people back into their homes first. We packed salvageable things with Federal Cos. in East Peoria and got about 25 to 30 households packed. Everybody here stepped up and did whatever needed to be done.”

The crew worked on about 110 board-ups the week and a half following the tornadoes, and is securing homes and businesses as completely as possible.

They plan on finishing project estimates within the next month.

From there, the team will prepare for the long construction journey ahead of them.

Driscoll said he estimates nine to 10 months to complete all the work in their queue.

“It’s unbelievable the amount of people we have serviced, and will service in the future,” he said. “We want to spend as much time on each project as is required to do it right.”

The most amazing part of this tragedy, Driscoll said, is the endurance of the community.

“People are still donating their time and money,” he said. “Everyone I have met who has helped would do this whether or not they were getting paid. In this community, it’s about neighbors helping neighbors.”

The network of local businesses is evidence of that kind of support, and has been vital to the longevity of the business community.

Driscoll said the Morton Chamber of Commerce is a key part of that connection.

“Being part of the Chamber is being part of the community,” he said. “It goes beyond business. It has opened doors and built relationships, and is definitely a foundation for a relationship that can’t be replaced.”