Area flash floods hammer homes, community
August 14, 2013
The worst of last week's flash-flooding may have been outside Fort Leonard Wood's boundaries, but the effects are being felt across the post, as the community is pulling together to help the victims.
Staff Sgt. Eric Stack, a drill sergeant for 2nd Battalion, 10th Infantry Division, Echo Company, was in the field with his platoon on the morning of Aug. 6 when he started receiving frantic text messages about his Waynesville home flooding.
"My first sergeant came down to watch my platoon and told me I needed to get home," Stack said.
Luckily, he knew his wife and son were out of town -- but the Family's two cats were locked inside, a situation his wife focused on.
"I started receiving phone calls from people asking if we were OK. I didn't want to believe it until a friend sent me a photo of my house. I didn't want to believe it. It was just, just -- a big wave of seven years -- gone. All I could think about were our cats. I had this feeling they were OK, but we both had the feeling they were trapped in the house," said Kim Stack.
The Family would have to wait an entire day before being allowed in the flooded area.
"When I finally got to the house the water was thigh deep outside, but inside the house the water had drained out. I could hear our cats meowing. I had to wedge the door open to get in to them," Eric Stack said.
The Family -- still in shock -- were still trying to process what they were going through.
"We feel homeless," Eric Stack said.
His wife said she was surprised at the speed of the flash flood.
"I never though it would rise that fast. There is a lot of field out there to fill, and I'm surprised it got that high. After the raining stopped, it receded in like 30 minutes. It just came in a wave," she said.
The Stack's are trying to protect their son as much as possible, but they said as hard as it is for them to deal with it, at 6-years-old he's really struggling to comprehend it.
"My son doesn't even want to take a bath. He doesn't want to have anything to do with water," Kim Stack said.
The Family is thankful for all they help the community is offering them.
"There are a lot of organizations offering help. We are wearing clothes from friends. People from his company have offered us so much. We will probably have our new home completely furnished with things they are going to give us. Whenever we can get a roof over our heads," Kim Stack said.
But some things aren't replaceable.
"Our wedding pictures and Jaden's baby pictures are gone. But I feel so fortunate to have my husband and son, our two cats and two dogs. We are all safe. Just to have them is all that I need."
While the Stack Family is just grateful to have each other, the Fort Leonard Wood Community is mourning the loss of two of their own.
Jessica Lee was on her way to work on post Aug. 6 when her car was swept up in Waynesville's flood waters -- resulting in the death of her and her son, Elyjah.
Also on the morning of Aug. 6, Fort Leonard Wood's Fire Department was sent with rescue boats to assist in removing trapped occupants from flooded houses and vehicles in Waynesville.
Not everybody who helped out during the flood were first responders.
Marine Staff Sgt. Shawn Vernon, Marine Corps Detachment, Motor Vehicle Operator Course, said he was driving to work on Aug. 6 when something told him to stop and knock on the door.
"I was driving to work on 17 into Waynesville from Crocker and noticed that the house had a lot of water around the basement and that the front of the Jeep in the driveway was almost submerged in water. So, I turned around and went back to the house and knocked on the door.
When the young man came to the door I informed him it would be a good idea to move his jeep and check his basement for safety," Vernon said. "It just feels good to know that by my stopping it helped that person not have as bad of a day as it could have been if he had slept through it."
Fort Leonard Wood's Commissary is also helping. They have placed a donations box in the patron exit for victims who have been displaced from their homes or have been affected by the flooding.
"It is our civil duty to help in any way possible as an intricate part of the military community and being a good neighbor," said Rick Lord, assistant store director. "In the name of my store director and the entire commissary staff, our hearts go out to all who have lost a loved one or a home during these difficult times. God bless you all and wish you a rapid recovery."
The commissary is accepting any non-refrigerated food items, or non-food items that patrons would like to donate.
Army Emergency Relief stands ready to help the victims of local flooding. Active duty, retirees, survivors and dependent of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard can receive emergency assistance at the local AER office.
Assistance with temporary lodging, food, fuel, emergency prescriptions and necessary medical supplies are available. Assistance with repairs of heating, cooling, plumbing or basic living furniture will be considered for home owners. Other specific needs can be requested on a case-by-case basis.
The AER office has coordinated with all the service relief agencies to provide this assistance at one location. Contact the local AER Section at 596.0212, or visit them in the Army Community Service in Bldg. 486, adjacent to the commissary.
An AER Form 700 application can be downloaded at www.aerhq.org.
Off post, the University of Missouri Extension has established an information call center for Pulaski County residents to receive information pertaining to disaster related needs. The number is 573.774.4725.
Material donations are also being collected at Good Samaritan in Waynesville. They have asked for no used clothes.
The Pulaski Community Organizations Active in Disaster fund has been established and individuals may donate money at Security Bank.
People who want to volunteer can call the United Way at 211 to register for volunteer opportunities.
Disaster survivors are encouraged to register with the American Red Cross at 866.815.2738.
As of this week, the Stack Family is trying to clean-up and cope with the disaster.
"Not having a home is overwhelming," Kim Stack said.
(Editor's note: Dawn Arden contributed to his story.)