Mississippi Floods

By:  Kenny Hulshof
Date: Sept. 27, 2008
Location: Washington, DC


MISSISSIPPI FLOODS -- (Extensions of Remarks - September 27, 2008)

* Mr. HULSHOF. Madam Speaker, when standing at the tops of the levees overlooking the Mississippi River, the mind's eye can still recall the army of sandbags atop the dirt and sand. You can still remember the smell of diesel fumes from the drainage pumps sending water out over the levee walls this summer. Thankfully, after the waters rose and fell, the sun shines again in my district. The floods are by no means forgotten. Winfield even today is still recovering from levee breaks, and LaGrange, Clarksville and Louisiana are still disposing of debris left behind throughout their towns. However, the signs of water lines against levees and unprotected structures mean lives are moving toward normalcy. After weeks of fighting floodwaters this summer, Jeff McReynolds gets to see his wife and baby at night, and Mark Campbell eats meals at home. In short, Northeast Missouri is beginning to recognize normal again.

* Growing up in the shadow of Mississippi River levees, I know the stress and anguish a flood brings. I also know that those who sandbag levees to save their neighbor's home or farm are some of the biggest heroes we have in Missouri. So, with that said, let me now honor Canton Emergency Services Director Jeff McReynolds; Hannibal's Emergency Services Director John Hark; LaGrange City Administrator Mark Campbell; Alexandria Mayor Bob Davis; West Quincy's Roger Sutter and Norman Haerr; Louisiana Mayor Don Giltner; LaGrange City Administrator Mark Campbell; Lewis County Emergency Manager David Keith; Des Moines River Drainage District Chairman John Winkleman; Louisiana City Administrator Bob Jenne; Pike County Emergency Manager Al Murry; Marion County Drainage District Commissioner Brent Hoerr; South River Drainage District Commissioner David Bleigh; Gregory Landing Drainage District Commissioner Kent Leftwich; and Clarksville Mayor JoAnne Smiley for leading the efforts to protect their hometowns. I also thank Colonel Setliff and Colonel Sinkler of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And, finally, I thank every citizen, National Guard soldier and government official that helped saved our towns. These men and women are all true heroes.

* There is also sadness in Missouri, for not all of our levees along the Mississippi River held. In addition to the tragic flooding in Iowa and Illinois, many areas of Lincoln County saw levees breached, and the air filled with news choppers that captured images of the flooding. This flooding has a profound effect on everyone who lives or works near the river because once you lose a crop or are forced to rebuild a house, you will always be able to empathize with those who find water where a home or farm should be.

* And just as friends, neighbors and perfect strangers helped shore up Clarksville, Canton and West Quincy's levees, we Missourians helped Iowans, Illinoisans and our brothers and sisters elsewhere in Missouri rebuild their lives this summer and now into this fall. Communities up and down the Mississippi River have exhausted themselves and their resources to fight this flood.

* To truly honor their service, we must continue to ensure that FEMA and our other federal agencies and resources are committed to the cause of recovery from this and future disasters. We will remain diligent in this effort, for to do otherwise would cheapen the work that the thousands of volunteers in my district and elsewhere in Missouri put forward on this effort. I could not look JoAnne Smiley and all our other volunteers and coordinators in the face without making this commitment, for this is what their commitment deserves and requires.