After much delay, the following is a letter from my co-worker Troy Simon's wife recounting the days leading up to and events surrounding the loss of their home during the June flooding in Cedar Rapids:
We just wanted to communicate to you what’s been going on over the last week. As you know, Cedar Rapids is under water. Please understand that we didn't call right away because we've been in a war with the water since Monday and did our best to save what we could.
We are in a 500 year flood plan so no one ever dreamed it would be this bad. We knew that it could and would probably fill the basement to the ceiling, but not this. In 93 the worst flood previously the water had only reached the middle of the front of the yard and the street was flooded. Troy and I had seen a video and pictures someone showed us before we moved there in 95.
Monday we worked to get things out of the basement and up to the main level of the house.
Tuesday as Troy and I left for work, the neighbors came down and expressed their concern that a dike had broke in Cedar Falls and with the added pressure the Cedar Rapids dike would more than likely break and we would all need to evacuate. I continued to go to work and do some appointments and rescheduled the afternoon people. Troy and I returned home and worked into the evening to continue to move things up higher in the house and prepare for evacuation. We filled our cars with pictures and some clothes. I left to stay at Troy's sisters while Troy stayed back to see what he could save after the evacuation was issued.
Wednesday I went to work as usual and people were there by 12:00 to sandbag. They said the salon may fill with a couple feet of water. Everyone grabbed their belongings and put them in their cars and lifted all the things off the floor. I could not believe I was going to probably loose our house and work environment all at once.
Meanwhile Troy was at the house. The water was filling the basement. I tried to get home from where I was, but all the roads I tried were flooded. All I could do was cry. After recovery of my emotions, I later found a back way around the city to get in. Praise God! Troy had been working on retrieving what he could from the house so I purchased tarps etc. to cover our things that were left because it was going to rain. There is a church high on the hill about half a mile away where we and the neighbors parked cars and hiked down.
After I got there, Troy asked what needed to be saved in addition to what we had out. He went and got it and handed it to me at the back door. He said "It's amazing how important you think everything is until you are desperately trying to decide what REALLY is important." We retrieved more pictures and essentials to start over. We moved what we had into higher ground in the back of our lot and covered it. Water was now 2-3" on the main level of the house. Late into the night we hiked to our cars and went to Troy's sisters’ place.
Thursday we got up, had breakfast and coffee and left to go back. They predicted heavy storms later so we needed to assess what to do. When we got there, the water had risen a couple of feet overnight and was now half way up our living room wall.
We knew the things we had saved were now in danger again and needed to be moved another time. Even though we told Melanie and the boys not to come, Josh was insistent and came anyway. We just weren't sure what the road conditions were with all the flooding. Thankfully he was on his way to help and neighbors did also.
As I was thinking about our situation and standing by our things, I asked and pleaded with God saying,” Please God, this is all we have left!" His reply was,” No, that’s not all you have left." I knew He was right and have been so thankful for all the offers for help and a place to stay from friends and family. That will really come in handy in about a week or so when the water finally goes down.
Just the same, we wanted to save our last remainder of possessions so we used what we had left for strength and moved it all to the very back of our lot with hope that it would be safe there.
In the midst of working in the back lot, we heard cracking. I knew it was the house and ran for the camera. A back section of our house was ripped off. I shook and my heart pounded as it happened. We saw entire garages and sections of houses being pulled up and float by from across the street. How powerful the water is and how sad.
When we finished moving and covering our things, we hiked up to our cars and left. We were amazed to see the downtown so under water!
Friday Troy and Josh went back one last time while I got necessities and things we needed. I found myself getting frustrated when I would hear people complain about not being able to take a shower or run the dishwasher while we are on water reserve. Are you serious??? Do they not understand that Thousands of people are homeless and businesses are devastated!?
The last look of the house was now water up to the roof. What we had left was thankfully still safe in the back of the lot.
No one ever dreamed it would be like this! I heard there were some who didn't prepare or try to save anything but and overnight bag and a pet because they didn't believe it would ever happen so bad. Now their house is totally flooded.
I feel blessed to have been able to do what we did. We are safe and we know God has a greater plan. Thank you for your love and prayers!
Beverly & Troy
Beverly & Troy