Stories from the Flood: Will You Share Yours?
The content below is a selected article from our summer 2019 WaterWays newsletter. Download a PDF of the full Newsletter.
A project to collect hundreds of stories from those who experienced last year’s historic flooding is underway in Vernon and Crawford Counties. “Stories from the Flood,” organized by the Driftless Writing Center (DWC), invites residents to share their experiences in written, audio or video form. The stories will become part of an archive housed at the Vernon County Historical Society and area libraries. They will also contribute to a findings report that DWC will distribute to local, state, and national policymakers and media.
Interviewers are hearing from evacuees, business owners, first responders, and residents of all backgrounds. Together, the stories highlight the strength and resilience of the small communities in the Kickapoo River and Coon Creek watersheds.
Recently, Judy Mixter of Coon Valley described how Coon Creek rose on the night of August 27th and rushed around her house. After floodwaters caused one of their basement walls to collapse, she and her husband called for help. A city tractor with a loader came to rescue them. In the following days, she said, numerous individuals and organizations helped them with food, cleanup, and replacing necessities such as their furnace. Mixter felt overwhelmed and humbled by everyone’s generosity.
DWC board member Tamara Dean says, “We’ve heard from people who lost everything but what they were wearing that night, from EMS personnel who evacuated a village in the dark, and from neighbors who donated their time and resources after the water went down. We’ve also heard from people who are frustrated about some of the bureaucracy that’s followed the recovery efforts. We hope the information we gather can help inform elected officials at all levels about ways to improve flood responses.”
To cap off the project, the Driftless Writing Center will publish a book of photos and narratives about the flood and its effects.
Public presentations will also bring these stories to the wider community.
Do you have a flooding story to share?
The Driftless Writing Center is a nonprofit organization that connects writers, readers, and audiences through workshops, discussions, and public performances. It celebrates the unique culture of the Driftless region and seeks to enhance the creative expression of the people who live there. Stories from the Flood is funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State of Wisconsin.