Beginning In A Whirlwind

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

I’d like to tell you about the beginning of our story….

It was July 2018. Ben and Mira Daniels had been working full time since 2015 to build The Willows. It was a big task, but they got the job done and were getting ready to open their doors in the next couple of months.

But on one fateful afternoon that July, a large tornado tragically tore through downtown Marshalltown, leaving destruction in its wake. One place that took a large amount of damage was another senior community in town. Overnight, dozens of seniors needed shelter while their home was being rebuilt.

The Daniels’ knew they had a space that was specially designed for seniors. And just days prior, had received their final permits. So they made the choice, before much of the staff had even been hired, to open The Willows early to offer shelter for the displaced seniors.

In the coming days and weeks, they saw an outpouring of love and support to make these seniors comfortable. So many folks from all over brought food, blankets, beds, furniture, and essentials. Many new Willows employees worked around the clock and gave much of their own time to make everyone comfortable. The Daniels family moved into the building to help, and as a community, they found their way through.

In that time, they saw so many examples of selflessness, love, and of neighbors helping neighbors. It gave them a profound sense of gratitude for this little corner of the world and a first-hand introduction to Marshalltown Strong. A community shining bright in their darkest hour is a miraculous thing to see, and we were forever changed by it.

This whirlwind was our beginning. When we opened our doors for business as usual, we already knew what it looked like to be filled with people who want to help make life better and easier for seniors. We have held strong in that mission ever since.

Thank you again and again Marshalltown. The Willows is truly yours. I feel proud to lead it every day.


Jennifer Stanley

Executive Director

641 485 1672