Friday, June 27, 2008

June 30, 2008—Iowa Recovers from Natural


Consider This for Consider This for June 30, 2008—Iowa Recovers from Natural Disasters

Iowa is in the epicenter of natural disasters this spring. Two major tornadoes and several weeks of flooding have put Iowa weather as the lead story on the national news.

I think that the real story is not the weather but how the people of Iowa have responded to these events.

I will never forget Sally Mason, the President of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, walking with a reporter surveying the flooding on campus. She was the epitome of strength and sitting in my living room in Breckenridge I could feel satisfaction knowing that she had her act together and that she would protect the historic artifacts of the University from the flood.

Another mind picture is Chet Culver the governor of Iowa talking about the Boy Scouts who were heroes in the aftermath of the tornado at the Little Sioux Boy Scout camp. The governor was not touting the National Guard or the state police. He was talking about the heroic acts of individual scouts. Everyone commented for days about how the scouts were prepared for the event and snapped into action when it occurred. In a matter of fact way they said that the boy scouts acted like boy scouts and were truly “Prepared” as their motto states.

My sister Janet and her church group went to Parkersburg last week to help clean up after their tornado. She commented about the amount of broken glass around the destroyed homes. There was broken glass, broken homes but not a broken spirit. Their web site says, “Parkersburg, Iowa—Growing with Pride.”

I remember my parents telling me about the 1979 Manson tornado just a few miles north of where I grew up. Three people were killed and 117 homes were destroyed. I also remember driving through Manson a couple of years later and not seeing any damage. It was as if it had never happened.

They say that anywhere from 10% to 20% of the crop was lost. A farmer was interviewed by national news about what he was going to do about the loss. He just looked straight into the camera and said he would replant. Plain and simple there are no tears, no whining. He had probably done that many times in the past without the scrutiny of the national news.

When you are a farmer you are a gambler. You take chances in a very risky business. When you are confronted by flood, tornadoes or hail you simply pull up your pants and get to work. No time to complain. Time is money and time is better spent in replanting.

I grew up a few miles from the Raccoon River and the Des Moines River. Both went out of their banks on a regular basis and they did again this year. The levees failed like they do every year and thousands of volunteers showed up to fill sandbags and build temporary levees.

I found it interesting that they began to say that levees did not help and that some should be removed to improve the flow of flood water out of the area. This was described as the same as putting your thumb on the end of a garden hose to build up water pressure to remove the really bad stuff from your car. The only difference is that in a river that pressure causes death and destruction.

The key remains the people. Some of the people born in Iowa include John Wayne, Johnny Carson, Buffalo Bill, President Herbert Hoover, John Lewis, Billy Sunday, Vice President Henry Wallace, Meredith Wilson, Cloris Leachman, Ashton Kutcher, George Washington Carver, William Frawley, Donna Reed, George Gallup, Glenn Miller, Harry Reasoner, Harriet Nelson, Tom Arnold, Ann Landers, Abigail Van Buren Gary Berghoff, Fred Grandy, Andy Williams and American Gothic artist Grant Wood to name just a few.

It always comes full circle. It has nothing to do with emergency planning or levees. It has to do with University Presidents and Boy Scouts. That is our first line of defense followed by thousands of others working their fingers to the bone supporting the effort.
Iowa is in the epicenter of natural disasters this spring. Two major tornadoes and several weeks of flooding have put Iowa weather as the lead story on the national news.

I think that the real story is not the weather but how the people of Iowa have responded to these events.

I will never forget Sally Mason, the President of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, walking with a reporter surveying the flooding on campus. She was the epitome of strength and sitting in my living room in Breckenridge I could feel satisfaction knowing that she had her act together and that she would protect the historic artifacts of the University from the flood.

Another mind picture is Chet Culver the governor of Iowa talking about the Boy Scouts who were heroes in the aftermath of the tornado at the Little Sioux Boy Scout camp. The governor was not touting the National Guard or the state police. He was talking about the heroic acts of individual scouts. Everyone commented for days about how the scouts were prepared for the event and snapped into action when it occurred. In a matter of fact way they said that the boy scouts acted like boy scouts and were truly “Prepared” as their motto states.

My sister Janet and her church group went to Parkersburg last week to help clean up after their tornado. She commented about the amount of broken glass around the destroyed homes. There was broken glass, broken homes but not a broken spirit. Their web site says, “Parkersburg, Iowa—Growing with Pride.”

I remember my parents telling me about the 1979 Manson tornado just a few miles north of where I grew up. Three people were killed and 117 homes were destroyed. I also remember driving through Manson a couple of years later and not seeing any damage. It was as if it had never happened.

They say that anywhere from 10% to 20% of the crop was lost. A farmer was interviewed by national news about what he was going to do about the loss. He just looked straight into the camera and said he would replant. Plain and simple there are no tears, no whining. He had probably done that many times in the past without the scrutiny of the national news.

When you are a farmer you are a gambler. You take chances in a very risky business. When you are confronted by flood, tornadoes or hail you simply pull up your pants and get to work. No time to complain. Time is money and time is better spent in replanting.

I grew up a few miles from the Raccoon River and the Des Moines River. Both went out of their banks on a regular basis and they did again this year. The levees failed like they do every year and thousands of volunteers showed up to fill sandbags and build temporary levees.

I found it interesting that they began to say that levees did not help and that some should be removed to improve the flow of flood water out of the area. This was described as the same as putting your thumb on the end of a garden hose to build up water pressure to remove the really bad stuff from your car. The only difference is that in a river that pressure causes death and destruction.

The key remains the people. Some of the people born in Iowa include John Wayne, Johnny Carson, Buffalo Bill, President Herbert Hoover, John Lewis, Billy Sunday, Vice President Henry Wallace, Meredith Wilson, Cloris Leachman, Ashton Kutcher, George Washington Carver, William Frawley, Donna Reed, George Gallup, Glenn Miller, Harry Reasoner, Harriet Nelson, Tom Arnold, Ann Landers, Abigail Van Buren Gary Berghoff, Fred Grandy, Andy Williams and American Gothic artist Grant Wood to name just a few.

It always comes full circle. It has nothing to do with emergency planning or levees. It has to do with University Presidents and Boy Scouts. That is our first line of defense followed by thousands of others working their fingers to the bone supporting the effort.

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