Storms Continue Damaging Homes, Businesses of Covenanters

Post a Comment » Written on June 12th, 2008     
Filed under: News
MASON CITY, IA (June 12, 2008) – Pastors of Evangelical Covenant churches in the Midwest are asking Covenanters and others to pray for church members and their families as they cope with recent storms and flooding that have continued to wreak havoc in the region.

Homes and businesses of Covenanters have sustained severe damage, and the nephew of one Covenant family was among the Boy Scouts caught in the tornado that killed four boys and injured dozens of others at the Little Sioux Scout Ranch in Iowa.

Robert Johnson, pastor of the Evangelical Covenant Church in Stromsburg, Nebraska, says the nephew of a couple in his church performed CPR on two of the scouts who eventually died in the storm. “We need to pray for his emotional healing, as well as for the rest of the families,” Johnson says.

In Mason City, the people still are trying to recover from flood damage. “Water has been shut off since Sunday, but we are fortunate to have limited water now,” says Tammy Swanson-Draheim, pastor of First Covenant Church. Residents still are unable to drink or wash clothes and dishes, “but we can shower and flush toilets as of yesterday. If all goes well we may have sanitary water back on Friday.”

On Wednesday, Swanson-Draheim visited the home of a woman in the congregation whose home was heavily damaged. “She had a lovely Habitat for Humanity home that she and her daughter helped to build.”

The pastor adds, “It was amazing what several feet of water can do to a home and belongings. The streets in her neighborhood are piled high with damaged furniture, clothing, carpeting, beds, and other essentials that are beyond salvage.”

The demand for help far outpaces resources, Swanson-Draheim says. “Some of those most likely to be able to lend support are simultaneously employees of the city or companies that also have pressing demands. Many are dealing with their own situations. Many folks do not have the resources or capacity due to the severity of damages.”

The chairperson of the Mason City church had severe damage to the lower level of his manufacturing company, Swanson-Draheim says. His business is one of many that have been affected. More than 70 restaurants have yet to re-open, and the hospital has had to divert many of its services, she adds.

According to the National Weather Service, the Winnebago River crested at a record high of 18.62 feet on Monday. The previous record was 15.7 feet on March 30, 1933. Earlier this morning, the river level was at 10.6 feet, but was expected to crest again at 12.5 feet on Friday morning.

“Most people do not have flood insurance (a separate coverage) so most of the damage will not be covered by insurance,” Swanson-Draheim says. “This means the repercussions will last well beyond the crisis of the moment.”

Last week a tornado destroyed the home of one family who attends the Ceresco Covenant Church. Horse barns and sheds on the property of several families in the congregation also were destroyed by at least one of two tornadoes. Another tornado in Omaha passed just over the home of Midwest Conference Superintendent Ken Carlson early Sunday morning but devastated other parts of the city.

Wes Gibson, pastor of First Covenant Church in Omaha, Nebraska, says people are much more nervous than in past years when they see storms developing.

Johnson says he has never experienced a storm season like the current one. During the two decades he has lived in Stromsburg, his family has had to seek shelter in the basement only once or twice. “This year, it’s been three times we’ve been in the basement with the sirens wailing.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

Leave a Reply

Report This Blog