IOWA DERECHO 2020

House destroyed in derecho, former Iowa football player Edmond Miles vows to rebuild

Miles family doesn't want to leave Cedar Rapids neighborhood

Edmond Miles played linebacker at the University of Iowa and now is an assistant at Linn-Mar. (The Gazette)
Edmond Miles played linebacker at the University of Iowa and now is an assistant at Linn-Mar. (The Gazette)
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MARION — The reason Edmond Miles chose to move to Cedar Rapids via the University of Iowa football program is the same reason he will rebuild after the Aug. 10 derecho destroyed his home and neighborhood.

His wife doesn’t want to leave and, for the record, Miles doesn’t, either.

“My wife loves that neighborhood too much so we weren’t leaving,” Miles said last week after his two-story home in Cedar Rapids suffered enough damage to be condemned by the city. “We’re going to rebuild, which will have us out of the house for 12 to 18 months.”

Miles, a Hawkeye linebacker from 2002-2006 who spent three seasons in the NFL, is no stranger to strong wind after growing up in Tallahassee, Fla.

“Hurricanes sit over you, but it’s a lot different when it’s in the Midwest,” Miles said. “It would just not go away.”

Miles and his wife Lindsay had just returned with their three daughters — Olivia, 10; Hazel, 4; and Charlotte, 15 months — from a vacation to Baltimore.

“We have a couple big, old trees in the backyard,” Miles said. “I had my eye on the grill because the cover kept picking up and if the grill is not moving, I’m thinking the trees aren’t moving. Maybe some branches will fall down, but nothing big. Then we heard a crash from our kitchen area and you could smell the debris.

“We went all the way back to the storage area of the basement and then when (the storm) continued to go, I decided to take a peek out and we had a huge oak tree on the side that was completely uprooted. I knew that had fallen on the sunroom or the porch area and I knew the cars were screwed, too.”

Not only were both cars severely damaged, but the rental they had just returned with was trashed, as well.

“The girls were screaming and crying,” Miles said. “We just reminded them that we are together and we’ll get through it.”

The family finally made it outside but couldn’t go through the kitchen.

“It was just like a war zone,” Miles said. “Trees were down everywhere and it was still raining.”

Now Miles, who works as an engagement specialist for the Cedar Rapids Community School District and is in his fifth year coaching at Linn-Mar, will have his family displaced to Marion for the next year-plus while they rebuild in the same spot.

“You just want to make it easier for them to transition and get through it,” Miles said. “It’ll be that much more satisfying once we get into our new house.”

Luckily for the Miles family, when they do move into their new home they already will know the neighbors.

“We always said we wanted to raise a family here,” Miles said. “When I say we have great neighbors, I mean great neighbors. I knew it wasn’t even an option for my wife, or even myself, we’re staying in Cedar Rapids.”

Comments: justin.webster@thegazette.com

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