Jonathan helped friends at Franklin get away from their home that was nearly flooded. Later, he and that friend had to go rescue another couple, ones who suffered much more severe damage. Jeff was out of town, but made arrangements for anyone needing shelter to come to their home, and later Jonathan, Karen & Monty had to spend a few hours there as they couldn't get back home.
I never did get close enough to Miss Julia's home to see if she was okay. Later I tried to call & there was no answer. My phone rang very early the next morning & one of our other renters told me that she had Miss Julia with her & they were in a shelter. I felt a wave of relief, knowing she was safe. But she had gone through a terrifying time, having to be evacuated from her street in a boat, & then was loaded on a school bus. They were taken to Columbus East High School where Red Cross set up a shelter. But in the middle of the night, water breached the street & Columbus East began flooding. Once again, the refugees had to be loaded back on buses & were taken across town to Columbus North, going through streets covered in flood waters. No wonder Miss Julia told me, "Sheila, I about drowned!".
Our community was in shock.
The flood waters had completely shut down our hospital and it took over 5 months for them to be able to reopen.
But during that time, a mobile hospital was brought in for emergencies as our nearest hospital was almost 20 miles away.
Factories & businesses were shut down. Some suffered multi-million dollar losses. Some never re-opened.
Complete housing additions were in total ruin. Mud, sludge, & field debris was everywhere.
I remember driving around a few days later, feeling so helpless & at a loss of how to help. I had my camera with me, thinking I would take pictures of the piles & piles of trash, carpet, clutter & cornstalks that was curbside. But I just couldn't do it. It was like I would have been photographing someone else's loss & it broke my heart.(These photos were taken from our newspaper)
But we found out that during a disaster, our community pulled together & did what we could to help our friends, neighbors, & even those we didn't know. The City immediately began hauling all of the trash away without charge. They went up & down the streets that had suffered damage week after week, hauling away things that used to be someone else's history.
Residents that weren't flooded found it a good time to clean out their closets, attics, or basements & donated tons of clothing & furniture to those in need.
We talked to people we would never even notice before.
Everyone had their own story.
It seemed that if we didn't suffer personal loss,
we knew someone who did.
It was a terrible time.
I'm not quite sure why communities like ours have to go through these kinds of experiences. But I know that we all learned from this terrible flood.
I now have a much more sympathetic ear when I hear of flood waters in other areas and sort of visualize what they are going through. This Spring when the torrential rains came & the river banks were about ready to overflow, a feeling of dread was felt. But thankfully the waters have receded & we are going on with our lives.
We'll never be the same...