Two young ladies of Orchard Place reading - at Orchard Place Des Moines

The Des Moines Flood of '93 united both staff & Orchard Place children

The Des Moines Flood of '93, united both staff and Orchard Place children as chaos became a constant in their daily lives. “I remember we had to shower in semi-trucks in the library parking lot next door,” said Jeremy Lantz, a former Aliber House resident. “Even with the staff having their own troubles at home with the flood, we as students didn’t get left behind.” Looking back after three decades, Jeremy says the dedication of those staff members shines bright. “Orchard Place helped me learn the foundations of what family was truly supposed to be like,” he said.

Jeremy’s journey after Orchard Place wasn’t easy. “Nothing is going to come easy without persistence and hard work, even if you fall, you get up and push forward,” he explained. Jeremy found himself in the Polk County Juvenile Detention at 16-years-old. “When I was released, I was dropped off at a gas station with $50 and was told, ‘Good luck and stay out of trouble.’” With no other options, he camped out behind the gas station that night until his mom could swing by the next day. “She drove me home and that’s when I learned I had to apply everything that was taught to me at Orchard Place.”

Years later, Jeremy told himself he would be a success story. Moving to a whole new city, he is now a grandpa to twin boys. “Having my son changed me. I remembered all my trauma and realized I could not let him have this kind of life,” he said. Doing what he could to provide for his son, Jeremy had a full circle moment when he became a youth counselor. He would look back and remember how he was treated by staff at Orchard Place and tried to mimic it. “In my eyes, while helping others, I was helping myself.” Jeremy now has a degree and works for a hospital and is happy. “I have twin grandsons, one son, and my wife. You helped me create this Orchard Place,” Jeremy beamed. “I was an angry young man, but I prevailed to become a success story!”