Thursday, June 30, 2011

Percival Levee Breach

Jo Ann’s article was sent to me 6-28-11. It is followed by pictures taken around the Percival dike and the exhausting work done by many to keep it intact. Sadly, this morning June 30, 2011, there has been a major breach located approximately 2 and one half miles north of Percival and measures some 200 feet in width. I write this with tears in my eyes as I fear for our church and the many homes as well as the businesses in the community..Please continue to pray for all those everywhere involved in this terrible flooding. Mindy

A Word From Jo Ann

I’ve been thinking about this blog and assumed I had nothing to add since we are not YET physically involved. Well, we did help our Percival Bottom friends move out and we have lots of machinery parked on our lots but our situation is nothing like those who are living away from their homes and businesses. They have been displaced for 3 weeks or more and I’m sure it is getting old.

Yesterday we went out to Percival to take food to the fellows who are working on the dikes. It was somewhat of an eye opener just listening to them talk “ the dike language.” It was something I have never heard before--sand boils, spongy places, varmint holes, etc. The effort they are putting forth day after day is amazing. Most have a vested interest but some are there just to help. They are beginning to feel that it is an exercise in futility but still they persevere day after day. Exhaustion is creeping in. Wet feet, sunburn, bug bites, scratches, and difficulty of getting through the seep water on paths that are getting too soft to negotiate with their pickups is something they deal with daily. They were talking about using ATVs and a cart to get there next. Talk about dedication!!! And all the time they are doing this (weeks at a time) they aren’t getting paid even for the fuel to get them back and forth. How much longer can they continue????

While we were there travelers were coming through, most expecting to be able to find fuel, some desperate for it. We had to tell them all the stations on the bottom had to have their pumps removed, their tanks emptied and filled with fresh water so they wouldn’t pop out of the ground when the flood water comes in. That is hard to get across to people who are used to stopping for gas anywhere. The closest fuel is in Sidney, 12 miles away. The Methodist minister was there at the time so he had a couple of women follow him back to Sidney to make sure they got there o.k.

We helped to move the things out of the church to Marty Shipley’s warehouse in Nebr. City (thank God for Marty’s generosity). The Methodists in Sidney called to offer their help with this project before we had even decided that we needed to do it. They brought trailers and pickups, helpers and food. Then they also offered their Church building in Sidney for us to have our services. We meet at 9:30 and they don’t meet till 11:00. How wonderful it is to be able to meet for services and be able to have our fellowship afterward. It is a needed time of bonding for our congregation, although some are scattered too far to come. One lady went to Pennsylvania to be with a son; one to Alabama to be with a daughter. Several people are in Sidney, two families are in Waubonsie State Park in campers, one is in Shenandoah and several are in Nebraska City which is now a 120 mile round trip because Hwy 2 is closed with water over the road. Percival is a ghost town and all the surrounding countryside that was home and farm ground for generations is empty.

With God’s help maybe we will grow stronger because of our adversities. Jo Ann Birkby

Remember, these photos were taken before the levee breach.




















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