By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Community efforts show a silver lining in times of need

GAYS MILLS - As the rain continues to trickle on this Monday Labor Day, the beleaguered residents of Crawford and Vernon counties carry on with their flood-relief efforts.

If it weren’t for all the imagery flooding social media, it would be hard to believe that so many residents of Steuben, Gays Mills, Soldiers Grove, Readstown, Viola and LaFarge just to name a few communities were once again completely devastated.

I followed the news last week from my desk in Boscobel, as it unfolded.

Living on the west side of the Highway 171 bridge tucked deep up in the valley means I usually have zero flood damage, but during catastrophic flooding like Gays Mills experienced, I am usually without a way to get to work. So, I worked quickly and despite obstacles was able to get home in time before the water closed off the passages.

I settled in at home and watched the predictions of the water rising and coming right for Gays on Facebook. For all of the crap we often give technology, what a time to be alive to see the power of the Kickapoo like we’ve never seen it.

It seems as though anyone and everyone who had a drone put it to use during this flood and to see the aerial shots of our hometowns was staggering.

For those of you who may not be on social media, the videos of which I speak were able to be taken from higher ground during the peak times of the water. In Soldiers Grove today, you can tell that there was serious force behind the water as the skate park and tennis court both have their fences crumpled up like tangled wire in the trash heap. The gazebo barely has legs left to stand on and the sinkholes in the parking lot of the park/lions shelter could engulf me at 5’3”. But watching this footage truly showed the power the water had, as it rushed with rapids across these areas.

The aerial views of Gays Mills didn’t depict as much power behind the water, but it gave a true perspective of the depth that has never before been seen in our village.

Imagine if you will a model village of Gays Mills that you could stand over and look down upon, and then imagine someone dumped five gallons of dark chocolate milk all over it and all you could see for the whole thing, was simply rooftops.  Pure devastation and destruction brought on by Mother Nature.

But through all of this we’ve seen our people do what they do best, and it’s band together to make it through anything.

Another wonder of technology during this flood has been the ability to coordinate people, supplies, and safe passage within moments.  People have reached out during the highest points of water and helped navigate evacuees to safer places via tiny little back roads scattered across several counties, they’ve been able to coordinate efforts for volunteers for clean up, recruit anyone and everyone with a crockpot full of a hot dish to share, and simply gather abled-bodies and supplies and point them in the right direction.

I had been so tangled up with my aunt’s funeral and work that I was unable to physically contribute very much over the weekend to the effort, but luckily Chasca was able to be off of work to help clean up in town one of the days. After clean-up, we stopped in Readstown to drop off some supplies at the church there, as well and take a load of supplies back to Gays Mills that was dropped there courtesy of Organic Valley.

Everyone’s eagerness to help out one another has been a beacon of hope for many in these uncertain days.

I saw one estimate of damage being in the millions of dollars that it will take to fully recover from this one. Yet, I have no doubt that one way or another we’ll all be able to do it together.

Those from afar wondering how they can help Gays Mills or any of the other communities affected by the flooding should take a moment and reach out to the village clerks of the affected village or villages you’re interesting in helping. If you’re unable to physically get here and help, it sounds like monetary donations towards the recovery effort are very welcomed.

For Gays Mills you can call 608-735-4341

For Soldiers Grove 608-624-3264

For Readstown 608-629-5627

For Viola 608-627-1831

For La Farge 608-625-4422