I Don’t Believe What I Just Saw

I drove through town today to help a friend clean out her basement. Well, tried, by the time I got there most of the work was already done, but we’ll be back to help her paint and drywall and other things. She was really lucky in the whole thing, her basement was flooded, mostly from sewage backup, but they had moved most items upstairs and it didn’t get above 4 ft high in her basement.

Others weren’t so lucky. As we drove across town it was just devastating site after devastating site. One after another. I was just in awe of what was going on. I’ve been thinking about this for 3 hours and I can’t even come to terms with it all. Every street is lined with crap, piled 10 ft high. Carpets and chairs and clothes and appliances. Toys and tools and all kinds of things. Already scavengers are out searching for anything with metal (which is good I guess) and it’s just awful.

I saw a semi trailer smashed up against a church.  I saw a gas tank (about the size of 2-3 SUVs) bent around a tree.  So many windows broken out.  Brick columns just obliterated.

I thought I was ready for this.  I really thought I had seen it all.  But I wasn’t ready.

Have you ever seen the curb of a house when someone gets evicted?  All their crap is piled up on the curb with total disregard to it?  That’s how this was.  Street after street after street.  As far as your eye can see down a street every house has this.  If the house doesn’t have this pile, it’s because the house has been condemned and the homeowner isn’t allowed back into it.

My friend lives a long, long way from the river.  I estimate 2-3 miles by the way the crow flies, yet she had neighbors whose houses had actual flooding from the river water.  You could see the line on the house.  Some of the houses were missing parts of their FOUNDATIONS.  Concrete block, or brick, foundations were just wiped out.  Gone.  Huge gaping holes in them.  And this was 2-3 miles from the river.  Easily.  At least that far away.  How hard was that river moving when it hit those areas?  Even today the current in the river was moving.  I wouldn’t want to fall into it.

We drove by the church with our experimental garden in it.  It was gone.  I figured it would be there just with dead plants.  No.  Gone.  The beds were made from 2x4s and they were 4 ft x 4 ft.  Gone.  No trace of them.  In fact they were using that spot for cushions from the pews.  I wasn’t expecting that.

I have a whole new appreciation for the power of a flood.

I don’t normally do this kind of thing, but tomorrow I’m going to put up some information here about where to send a donation.  My employer has offered to match any donation made to their foundation for the relief effort dollar for dollar up to $1M.  Previously for Katrina and the Tsunami they’ve easily achieved this goal.  I’m sure they will this time too.  If you wish to donate you can go this way and your money will count twice.  Once for the dollar you give and once for the dollar they give to match your donation.

(Please note, I have nothing to do with this effort other than providing the mailing address.  You can contact the Red Cross or another organization too.  I’m simply trying to figure out how to get more from what you donate.)

Before tonight I underestimated the impact of all this flooding.  Tomorrow’s a new day.  It will be a different day with a different perspective.  A new understanding of what can happen very quickly.  A new day.  Tomorrow’s a new day.


4 responses to “I Don’t Believe What I Just Saw

  1. I wish we had our camera with us. However, I have seen pictures on TV and even on co-workers cameras, but it doesn’t really sink in until you witness it for yourself. There are military personnel standing at many street corners making sure that you don’t drive down those particular streets. You are thankful for them b/c you know that they are protecting your safety. And the smell is something that can’t be described. On top of that, you can feel emotions as you drive through the streets and the sense of loss for these people is just overwhelming. To have to throw your valued possessions to the curb as if it is trash is just saddening. We work hard for our things.

    I have even HEARD that the city has rented dump trucks to pick up the trash and then haul it to Chicago b/c our landfill does not have the space for all of our “trash”.

    Also, a thing that Matt didn’t touch on is the amount of people flooding (no pun intended, ha ha!) our city trying to get our business with reconstruction/mold removal/remodeling/electrical/etc. We saw license plates from as far away as Illinois. At first I was mad about this b/c I felt as if these people were preying on us like a wolf feeds on a dead deer. However, after I thought about it, I realized that the people that do this type of work in our city will NEVER be able to service all those in need. So, I then became grateful for these out of towners being here.

    It is hard to be here and NOT put yourself in these peoples shoes. You just wonder how you got so lucky and others didn’t. If this were to happen to Matt and I, I don’t know what we would do?? We make decent salaries, but we live like most Americans-paycheck to paycheck. We don’t have enough in savings to be able to replace much more than a sofa. How are these people ever going to have the normal life that they used to?

    Please keep our city in your prayers. We are thankful to have such a strong community and even better-such a strong COUNTRY. If the military weren’t here to protect our safety, the Red Cross to give us food and supplies and others to help us rebuild, our city would be without hope. God Bless America!!!!

  2. We have been praying for you all along! We live in St. Cloud, Minnesota but my husband and I met and married in Cresco, Iowa in 1995 and lived there four years while he was high school teacher there. Iowa and all you Iowans are dear to our hearts.

    Came over from Sharon’s site, btw. I’ll put a link to you on my blog. I know many of my blog readers, Minnesotans and others, would be interested in your account.

    Peace and blessings, Lisa in MN

  3. cleanerplateclub

    Thinking of you. Praying for you.

  4. Praying indeed. Thank you both Matt and Wifey for giving us this insight.


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