Posted in Communities | Current Events | Employees | Leadership | Stewardship | Transportation by Steve Muller (Manager of Client Development) on September 20, 2011
The Bloomsburg Fair in Columbia County was cancelled for the first time in 157 years due to flooding the fairgrounds recently received.
The rains from September 5th through the 8th, as the remnants of tropical storm Lee crossed the eastern seaboard, brought the fifth worst flood in Susquehanna Valley history. Destruction and loss of life followed in the wake of the flooding, as residents, businesses, and officials from PA and the federal government continue to assess the damage.
As of four days after the flood waters began receding, here is some of what happened:
4,500 homes, and counting, were damaged or destroyed.
President Obama issued States of Emergency in PA and NY, making FEMA funds available to homeowners, and FEMA has opened 7 disaster recovery centers across the mid-state (in Dauphin, Bradford, Columbia, Luzerne, Lycoming, Sullivan and Wyoming counties).
In Bloomsburg, the Susquehanna crested at 32.75 feet, breaking a record set in 1904, where the famous 157-year-old Bloomsburg Fair was cancelled for the first time ever, because of the 10+ feet of water they took on.
For Larson Design Group, we had dozens of our 230+ employees affected by the flooding – some only slightly, and some significantly. It is interesting to note that all six of our offices were in the path of the heavy rains of these storms, experiencing between 4 inches and 10 inches of rainfall at our branch offices. The storms’ heaviest concentration of rain was in Dauphin and Lebanon counties, where upwards of 13 inches of rain fell in a 3-day timeframe.
By Friday, September 9th, it was apparent that this weather was going to impact some of our LDG folks extensively, and an email was broadcast to learn who might need what kinds of help. Stories have followed of dozens of our employees helping out flood victims, including co-workers, neighbors and family, while others were receiving the help they needed. Many of our folks assisted with finding and sharing supplies, doing the hard work of demolition on flooded homes and businesses, and fielding other resources like tools and clothing.
Another victim of the flooding was a favorite fun spot for many of our employees and their families: Knoebel’s Amusement Resort in Elysburg, PA, which was overrun by flood waters. Our LDG summer picnic is held at Knoebel’s every year, and we actually had to postpone it from August (because of Hurricane Irene) to September.
With the great damage from the current flooding, and realizing that Knoebel’s may not be up and running by our rescheduled September date, the idea was presented of cancelling our company picnic and donating the funds to the Red Cross. This idea was overwhelmingly embraced by our employees, and on Monday, September 12th, the funding was approved to be sent to six regional Red Cross offices. Additionally, the company picnic funds were matched with corporate donation funds, doubling the amount donated.
I often say that we take our values seriously at Larson Design Group, and with Teamwork being one of them, I’m not surprised at our corporate response to the needs created by this flooding. I’ll close with the encouragement to reach out, if you haven’t already, and offer a helping hand, or a monetary donation, to those that experienced the devastation that these storms brought. And if you have a story of your own related to these recent rains, feel free to share it.Comments (1) | Permalink | Tags: Bloomsburg Fair, compassion, FEMA, flood, Funding, Knoebel's, natural disaster, Obama, Pennsylvania, Red Cross, tropical storm lee, volunteer
This post really helped to bring me up to speed on the whole situation, as I was overseas while this occurred. It also made me think of a quote from CS Lewis – which unfortunately I cannot recall exactly – but the gist was that often the worst situations bring out the best in people. Also, wanted to share this link to a slideshow of images that describe much of the damage and recovery efforts experienced in the nearby Montoursville area that were hit exceptionally hard: