by Marie Neubauer
Derecho was an unknown term to many before last week’s storm.
My mother-in-law had just picked up the kids to spend the day with her. My husband had just walked into the house to get ready for a doctor appointment. The wind picked up, and we lost electricity. Jared and I watched the storm come in and BOOM. Something hit the house. We headed to the basement. I called my mother-in-law and told her I wasn’t sure if the storm would be heading that direction but if so they needed to get to the basement soon. Jared and I waited for the wind to die down and crept up the stairs and looked out the window. It was hard to see, but we saw the grain bin roof in the yard. A good indicator that it still wasn’t safe to come out of the basement. Twenty minutes is how long we were in the basement.
Our neighbor called for help. His barn collapsed on his cattle, so we headed over. It’s a sinking feeling when you see the damage to your own place but when every place you drive by has extensive damage the feeling gets deeper.
The fast moving, hurricane like winds caused massive amounts of damage. We lost grain bins, our shop, a barn, and trees. All of our outbuildings were impacted in some way from the wind and hail. Crops flattened and damaged. Our cattle did not get injured but all of my horses have lacerations on their body and one lost an eye. But again, we were not the only ones. Our neighbors lost property. The next town looked like a war zone. Over 700 miles this storm impacted.
So many people had their own damage. Everyone I talked to, do you know what they most felt bad about? Not being able to help their neighbors and family quick enough. That brought me to tears, hearing people care for others. We still have community.
When we were evaluating our damage, it was overwhelming. I just walked around. I didn’t know where to start. People showed up. What do you need? How can I help? One neighbor asked if we had a generator. I felt bad, I think I just stared at him because it dawned on me that we have well water and no electricity meant our livestock had no water. He said “Marie, do you need a generator?” I just nodded. He left. Brought us a generator and hooked it up. Then when electricity came back on, he unhooked it and made sure everything was okay.
Looking back at the past ten days there is a simple conclusion: people are good.