Faith, family, friends see parishioners through flooding
By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
“We were maybe one of the most fortunate couples in Sioux City. A woman, Lisa Hauswirth, gave us her house to stay in the entire time, while she moved in with her parents,” said Mark.
He said the flooding was an inconvenience and there were times when they wondered if they would lose everything.
“There was anxiousness – anxious to get it behind you, anxious to get the water out, anxious to get back to whatever normal life is,” said Mark.
There were 28 inches of water in his basement from June 17 until the middle of September. The entire basement was gutted and they are currently, slowly making repairs.
“I know we were in everyone’s prayers,” said Mark. “There are worse things in the world that have happened. You tell yourself someone always has it worse than you did. I had a place to stay, had a job. Life went on. If you get knocked down, you have to pick yourself up and go forward.”
A house, a park
As a resource technician for this Woodbury County Park, Brian kept busy with helping with the park’s needs as well as what needed to be done for their house.
Their family was displaced from the first weekend in June and until the first weekend in October. During that time they lived in an apartment in Whiting.
“It was stressful,” said Heather. “We had to keep telling ourselves we were thankful we were healthy, we were safe and we had a place for our family. We had a chance to get our belongings out.”
The basement of their house had water damage and in the park there was a lot of water and tree damage from a windstorm. There was extensive clean-up, but there “wasn’t anything that couldn’t be repaired,” said Heather.
“It could have been a lot worse,” he said.
Even though they were not in their home and were busy with clean-up and repairs, they still made time to attend church, whether it was at their parish in Sioux City (about 40 minutes away) or at St. John’s in Onawa.
“We always knew that (the church) was always there for us. We always knew everything was going to be okay,” said Heather. “When we moved back home, it was nice to be back in our own church.”
Kristie, her husband, Justin, and their son, James, 4, moved in with her mother and step-father. It was an adjustment, she said, but also a comfort to be “around people who love you and support you.”
“It was almost unreal and surreal when it was happening,” said the Sioux City Sacred Heart parishioner. “I didn’t really realize how surreal it was until we were actually moving back home. I can’t believe this just happened.”
She said they were one of the fortunate ones who didn’t have water in their home. They had water in their backyard, but they were able to pump that out pretty quickly.
“We feel fortunate and blessed because if that levee hadn’t held the way it did, it could have wiped all of us out. We could have had 14 feet of water and our houses gone,” said Kristie. “It is unbelievable what happened and now we just pray that it doesn’t happen again.”
She remembered that the second day of being out of her house, she spoke to Bishop Walker Nickless and thought there should be a special Mass for people to come together as a community.
“After I went to that Mass, it was a point for me that I had to let everything go,” said Kristie. “There are some things we had to do to protect our house, but at the end of the day, once you have done what you can do, my husband and I had to let go and let God. That got us through it. We are big believers in couple’s prayer. You have to trust in God and that he has a plan.”
As a community, she said they pulled together and she was confident in the leadership handling the flood.
“We were very lucky that we didn’t have water in our home, but we have friends who had six feet of water sitting in their basements for two-and-a-half-months. They are still rebuilding or they are not back in their homes,” said Kristie. “That is just heartbreaking. It took an emotional toll on people. All we can do is hope that we came through on the other side much stronger, stronger in our faith and stronger in our community.”
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