While floods have devastated areas around the world and within the U.S., recently Red Dirt country sustained a fairly damaging flood as well. This particular phenomenon was coined by weather experts as a “500-year rain.” In other words, we’ll probably not see one like it again. To add to the burden, although the majority of the damage was sustained in areas not zoned as “flood plain,” the White House denied Governor Henry’s request for aid to those who sustained property damage.
This denial was a difficult blow to absorb. Areas of Northwest Oklahoma City and Edmond were damaged, as well as throughout the metropolitan area. We’re not going to include shock video or photos on our blog, but suffice it to say there were highly emotional moments. During one instance, a young girl was almost lost in the deep waters several times before emerging one last time to be pulled to safety by rescuers. Another story included the testimony of an adolescent boy holding his paraplegic grandmother above the water for six hours before being rescued. Horses and cattle were lost, farms were devastated, and houses sustained an inordinate amount of damage. Some were irreparable.
But, just like those around the world and across the U.S., the commitment to rebuild has flourished and progress is being made regardless of financial assistance. The progress is possibly slower due to the lack of resources, but it’s certainly no less determined. There are hundreds of stories of progress across the area, many much more extreme than we’ll share here. We have three small vignettes for you, however…slices of rebuilding taking place.
So, today the RDC Friday Morning Shout Out simply goes to all those who are making progress, whatever the pace may be. And certainly to those who are still planning progress but for some reason haven’t yet begun.
1) One fun little story comes from Dane and Diane Sharp. They live just down the road from me. For kicks one Halloween, they made big “eyes” and nailed them onto a dead tree in their yard. The flooding was so high in their area that the eyes were swept away, never to be “seen” again. The Sharps have since replaced the eyes and now drivers-by can smile at the local “Googly Eyed-Tree.”
2) Our second story is about Cody and Andrea Freeman. They had just purchased a home that had been vacant and left uncompleted for approximately five years. Determined to finish the project out for their family, they went through all the steps to take ownership of the home and moved in. They had JUST settled in when the flood hit. Standing on their porch, they watched these waters rage onto their brand new property (see below – photos are post flooding). The waters have recessed, there was some “re-clean-up” to perform, but they’re doing okay.
3) Our last neighbor’s property was extremely damaged. He lost horses down a flooded creek, lost fencing around his horse farm, and had extensive mud dumping across his quarter-section of land. Here is a cell phone photo of their property after the water subsided. You can tell by the vegetation that the water reached nearly to the top of their fence posts.
I stopped by to see them the other day and check on their progress. The dogs greeted me, but they weren’t home. There is a new fence, however, on one side of their property. There are at least two horses back at their home now. A large area of mud dredging has been grated and it looks like they’re getting ready to start on the next section. Good luck, Mr. Horse Farmer Neighbor…good luck, bridge builders and dry wall fixers. And good luck to everyone who was affected by the flood and are rebuilding regardless of the lack of federal disaster assistance. We’re proud you are our neighbors and wish you the best!