There were a number of Peabody people who spent serious time Sunday helping local residents get out of harm’s way as Spring Creek and Doyle Creek spilled over their banks and flooded the south end of Peabody.
Volunteers were awakened early and stayed on task for most of the day. Some went home in time to get supper and then came out again when violent weather was forecast for late Sunday night and into Monday morning. The added storms never materialized, but it is nice to know they were out there watching just in case.
The group of volunteers included city employees, our Mayor and some council members, police officers, firefighters, and members of the ambulance crew. These people took emergency vehicles to the city building and new city shop to keep them out of the floodwaters and make sure they were available should an additional crisis strike. They evacuated residents whose homes were in the path of the floodwaters and carried them and many of their possessions to higher ground.
The staff at Legacy Park stepped up to the plate and opened a couple of rooms in the assisted living area, giving the evacuees a place to stay dry while they waited for the floodwater to recede. The Legacy Park staff also provided them with lunch.
Mayor Larry Larsen said a steady stream of people stopped by the improvised command center at city hall to volunteer for any job he could find for them. He said our citizens were phenomenal. However, we already knew that, didn’t we?
Peabody got lucky on this one. While the floodwaters rose at a dangerous rate and flowed at breakneck speed, everyone was safe at the end of the day. The cost of the damage to businesses, homes, equipment, and vehicles in the flood’s path is not yet known. While in some cases the amount might be considerable, we still were lucky that there was no loss of life.
This was not the flood of “the old days” when water rose almost to the Walnut and Second Street intersection and retailers moved merchandise to higher ground by row boat. This was not even serious by 1970s standards when several times floodwaters lapped at the doors of the bowling alley and Keller’s Clothing Store across the street.
I wasn’t stranded or trapped anywhere, although The Mister foolishly got himself marooned almost on top of the BNSF railroad tracks as he tried to dodge the body of rushing water roiling in front of our warehouse. Once just over the tracks, he noticed Doyle Creek headed in his direction from the south and his escape route was cut off. He says it was all part of his plan — sure! He hasn’t yet told me who brought him to high ground. I just know it was someone on a tractor. One of those valiant volunteers to whom we owe a debt of gratitude.
So we all count our blessings and appreciate the many people who spent time on Sunday helping others and doing what needed to be done. We couldn’t be a community without you.
— Susan Marshall