Archive for May 2017

Life Continues…

On April 30-May 2 the area that I live in was devestated by a historic flood.  Businesses and homes were lost, recreational areas have been shut down, and the river has been rearranged.  Those who were personally affected by the flood (lost their business or home) had to deal with it, continually on a daily basis.  Those of us that were affected for the few days the water was up, we had to rerout ourselves around different highways and it was inconvience, but our lives continued.

Are we affected on a daily basis?  Of course I am.  I no longer have Casey’s General Store to stop at and grab a piece of breakfast pizza — which by the way is a great way to kick your day off — or a donut.  Sonic is no longer a “go to” for dinner on my way home from work or for a mid-day “pick-me-up” half price fountain drink.  It’s a way to save money and also stick more closely to eating healthy, but life continues.

My bank now resides in a trailer in Town and Country parking lot.  I have no access to an ATM that does not charge me fees, and my important papers now sit on my table at home rather than in a safety deposit box.  Having online banking and a checking account (Kasasa) that refunds my ATM fees has become more important over the past month.  Life continues.

For nine days following the flood my church assisted at the Flood Relief Center at the Fairgrounds (along with several other organizations and individuals), we helped supply families with hot meals and perdsonal items needed to live after they were flooded.  There were individuals who had lost everything themselves, still had water in their homes, who came to assist with the relief efforts.  They would comment “what else is there to do, there are many that need help”.  The unity that was in our community astonished the groups that came from out of town (Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, ect) as to the amount of progress we had made and what we were doing as a community to help.  Normally they have to start at ground zero and establish the systems that we already had going since day three of the flood.

This whole thing is a reflection on life in general.  We have milestones in our lives that we achieve, sometimes life is altered but it continues.  We may lose a loved one, our lives are altered but it continues.  We may change jobs or lose our job, life is altered but it continues.  Our lives here in Doniphan have been altered; some businessness may not reopen, the livelhood of our community (the river) has devestated us and the revenue that is usually generated during this season may be lost (due the the river being unsafe – the Ecoli) and not having the services available.  Life continues.

As in life this flood has affected us individually and as a community.  We have all been altered in some form or fashion by it.  We have bound together and have worked to restore our city, and we continue to work as each of us can in our own individual ways.  Supporting the different endeavors to make us strong again…to ensure that the life that continues is as great or better than what was before.  There will be things that have changed, there will be stuff that is gone, but we will continue.  Because though life and circumstances can be devestating…in the end it continues.

We become stronger, we become survivors…we continue.

ERM

Doniphan Flood — April 30, 2017

I sit here on Thursday, day five of “The Flood” and listen to it rain yet again.  The Current River is slowly receding from the record 33.13 ft it crested at on Monday, May 1.  Needless to say it has been a crazy week.

Saturday we were told that the river would reach around 23 feet, we woke up Sunday morning with the levels jumping to 29, then 36, then 40 feet.  The record for the Current River in Doniphan was back in 1904 when it crested at 26.8.  I of course was not a live then, but I vaguely remember the flood of 1982 when it crested at 25.49 (which was the second highest to date).  Of course living on the river you know that it floods, that water rises when there is a lot of rain, and that there is always the possibility of the need of evacuation.  In 2007 I went to work for E&S Pharmacy and worked for them until 2013.  The initial location where I was hired to work was in the flood plan (if it was a moderate to major flood); the building flooded twice during my time with them.  The river flooded three times and we evacuated twice, the third time in 2011 was the charm that had the company moving to higher ground and we relocated the facility to a hill in the middle of town.

Sunday, what was to be my only day off this week (was supposed to work Mon-Sat this week, but due to flooding in Arkansas I did not work today in Paragould); I woke to the phone tree message that morning service would be cancelled due to flooding, but to stay tuned for further information concerning the 6:00 pm service.  As the day continued, the rain continued, and the river continued to rise.  All services ended up being cancelled due to flooding.  My dad and I spent the day driving around town watching the river rise (with all of Ripley county I think).  The ‘go to spot’ was Town & Country parking lot where you could watch the river rise at the bridge that was forecasted to be closed (which it was around 7:00 pm).

Doniphan lost phone and cell service, there were a lot of areas that lost power, West Doniphan lost access to town because the bridge was closed, and emergency personnel (who’s job is to help and save people) lost access to individuals that needed help due to no access to them becuse the bridge was closed or high water.  Needless to say the stress and frustration of trying to do a job you have dedicated yourself to with the limited resources and inability to do it to the fullest, was making life difficult.

Working Monday, May 1, at the hospital trying to perform transfers of patients and continue with daily tasks that require internet, fax, and phone services was interesting…when you had non of them.  We had one phone (the doctor’s phone, that happened to have Verizon wireless — which still worked), and later we bought burner phones that worked off the Verizon network and had those available around 5:00 pm.  It made for an interesting day trying to make people understand that I was unable to fax them information, but I needed them to please take my patient. :)

One bonus of the flood is that it accomplished something that has been tried several times throughout the years and never really made progress…getting people out and moving (exercising).  There has been the Get Moving campaign, the GO Walk campaign, and several other programs started to try and get residents to exercise.  The flood had the whole county out walking, taking pictures, enjoying nature and the outdoors.  It apparently takes a catastrophe to get people out and about.

On Monday evening the water started receding from the town, where approximately 35 businesses have been affected and lost everything, leaving behind a sludge of dirt, mud, and “stuff”.   We have pulled together as a community and several groups and individuals have started activities to help clean the area and assist the individuals that have lost everything.  The bonus of living in a small community is that we don’t have to wait for the Federal Government to step in and give assistance, we assist each other.  We have had the Convoy of Hope that brought relief items in, and individuals from our community has donated items to the relief project.  I love living in a place where people come first.

We’ve lost some of our main eating places and I will miss being able to stop at Casey’s for breakfast or at Sonic for dinner on my way in/out of town.  But I know that as a community we will rebuild and come back stronger and better than before.  It will be a process and may take awhile…but we will succeed.  As the logo that is being placed on shirts designed by Pam Davis states, we’re “Current River Strong”.  The river has a powerful current, and as it continues to flow and go so will the residents of Ripley County.

ERM