IOWA DERECHO 2020

Father of former Cedar Rapids RoughRiders player aids devastated community by helping them see the light

Marcel Wolthers travels from California to Iowa to donate 2,000 flashlights to those in need

Raymond Siddell (left), Marcel Wolthers (center) and Mark Carlson (right) pose with boxes of Xstreem LED flashlights tha
Raymond Siddell (left), Marcel Wolthers (center) and Mark Carlson (right) pose with boxes of Xstreem LED flashlights that Wolthers, whose son played hockey for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, drove to town last week to donate to those in need.

CEDAR RAPIDS — They filter in and out of this community on a yearly basis, but most Cedar Rapids RoughRiders players will never forget their brief time here. That’s in a good way.

The same goes for their parents.

That’s why you saw Marcel Wolthers pull up in a rental truck last week to the Iowa Derecho Relief Center at the Armar Plaza in Cedar Rapids with box after box after box of flashlights he wanted to donate to those without electrical power and in need.

“It seemed like the nice thing to do,” Wolthers said. “My son played here, and he had a great experience. We know a lot of people here.”

Ethan Wolthers played right wing for the RoughRiders in the 2018-19 season. He was in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League last season and is a freshman this year at the University of Massachusetts.

The family is from Valencia, Calif., and that’s where Marcel Wolthers originally began his travels last week before eventually coming to the aid of Cedar Rapidians. He drove with a niece and nephew to the University of Oklahoma to help them move in for the school year, and that’s where he found out about the devastation a derecho storm had done to the city.

Wolthers has been in the entertainment industry in Hollywood for 30 years as an engineer and in post production, among other things. His current professional position is Director of Theatrical QC Operations at Pixelogic Media.

But he’s also an entrepreneur who developed several styles of what he labels the Xstreem LED flashlight.

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“There’s a long story on the history of it,” he said. “A few years ago, I was in over 100 Ace Hardware stores. Now I’m doing a lot of Amazon sales, online sales. We have branched out into the Midwest. We’ve got a warehouse, have started stacking stuff in there. I was going to bring stuff back to L.A., but ... here I am instead.”

Wolthers’ flashlight warehouse is in Michigan. He drove approximately 1,100 miles from Oklahoma to Michigan, picked up 2,000 flashlights and called RoughRiders Coach/General Manager/President Mark Carlson.

“I just asked him ‘Hey, you need some flashlights?’” Wolthers said. “That was the goal.”

The Iowa Derecho Relief Center was created by local realtor Raymond Siddell and has done so much to help those in need during this crisis. It has served meals and given out food, water, supplies, just about everything you could think of, all stuff that has been donated.

“This is the community, it isn’t me,” Siddell said. “I just started a Facebook page.”

“I stopped by the (ImOn Ice) arena on the way here,” Wolthers said of the RoughRiders’ rink, which sustained heavy damage. “That was horrific. I took video to show Ethan. I visited the billet family he stayed with here, will be going back over there tonight. They have no power. It just seems like every street that was standing isn’t standing anymore. Incredible.”

Like his willingness to help. Like so many others’ willingness to help.

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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