Flood recovery efforts recalled
BY ROBERT L. BAKER
Wyoming County Press Examiner
Rarely is a flood a good thing, but Sunday at LazyBrook Park in Tunkhannock, area clergy joined hands with the public to offer thanks to emergency responders and to God for taking care of them when they were knee deep in mud.
Pastor Tom Mott of the Meshoppen United Methodist Church remembered driving back into his town a year ago after the waters receded from Tropical Storm Lee and couldn’t get off Rt. 6 to the parsonage because the street was packed with cars of volunteers and water trucks were already pumping water out of people’s basements.
“I was overwhelmed with it all,” Pastor Mott said, “But, God is good.”
The parsonage took three and a half feet of water on the first floor and the church’s basement was completely flooded along with two more feet on the first floor.
“It was nothing short of a miracle to see people getting in there and cleaning it up,” he said.
Rev. Jean Swett concurred while sharing her experience in Forkston, about 10 miles due south of Meshoppen.
She told of Creek Junction Park where a month earlier Little League seasons had ended, and then Hurricane Lee came in with a vengeance.
“Everything was moved or gone, nothing left behind, no food or water in the concession stand, and even it was destroyed,” Rev. Swett said.
She encountered a church member who asked, “Pastor, what do we do now?”
A tune came in her head that she couldn’t get out of it, and assumed it was a message from God.
She told her flock, that even though they didn’t have power and water and no telephone service, “The Lord has not forgotten you. You have your lives.”
Then 10 days later her village was slapped by Lee and it seemed like just too much to deal with.
“But we trusted in God, and pulled through it somehow,” she said.
Wyoming County Commissioner Ron Williams who attended the service but was not asked to speak, said he appreciated the clergy’s help but he was most impressed with the resilience of the county’s people.
“Every time they go through something like this they get stronger, and do what they themselves can to begin helping others,” he said.
The service of prayer and healing was sponsored by the Wyoming County Long-Term Flood Recovery Committee that was created last winter with seed money from the Wyoming County United Way as a means of taking care of those folks who had fallen through any of the safety nets created while the flood recovery centers were open.
Among the other clergy participating were Rev. Lou Divis of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Pastor Rick Womer of the Tunkhannock Assembly of God, and Rev. Doug Sivers, who represented the Susquehanna Conference Flood Recovery Committee of the United Methodist Church.
Sivers recalled bringing flood buckets to the region and continues to serve on the long-term recovery committee.
The contemporary Christian rock band Kingdom Come also performed Sunday along with special programs for children.