Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Walk to Remember

Last June our city was inundated with the rising waters from the Cedar River and not only was the downtown area completely submerged but the 100 year flood plain and the 500 year flood plain were under water.

Just a couple of years before, a few churches in our city combined efforts for a citywide move to express our faith towards others in our city through prayer, care and share initiatives. Little did we know how God was going to use that gathering of people to impact our community in the months following the flood.
Last year at this time volunteers were gathering to help evacuate people from their homes and sand bags were being filled in a vain attempt to hold back the rising waters. Last summer there were shelters to man, cleaning kits and fresh water to be handed out, and gaps to be filled as churches and businesses were relocated. In the fall, these churches partnered with 8 Days of Hope to bring in volunteers and skilled workers from all around the country to rebuild homes in the flood affected area. It's been a year long process of redeeming what could be salvaged and clearing off what could not.

This weekend our city is commemorating the floods that decimated our fine city and celebrating the recovery efforts of many people, businesses, and organizations.

One of the events I participated in was the 7 mile walk/run of the flood affected area. I have never done a walk or run before and after encouragement from some gals from church (these are some of the Grand Canyon ladies) and with the company of my husband and daughter, I joined 2000 people for Run the Flood. It was all very official feeling with t-shirts, race numbers, and a timer chip. My only goal was to finish and not to finish last.

It was fitting that the race started in the rain. The path was well marked and attended along the way with well wishers and volunteers to cheer us along. Many of the race volunteers were from area churches and their smiles and cheers were indeed encouraging. Last year's flood levels were also marked with blue tape along the path as well. While we dodged standing rain puddles on this day, it was minor compared to the 12 feet of water that stood in the same area just a year ago. Most encouraging was the business owners who are now back in business who also came out to cheer us, give high 5's and say thank you. About $50,000 was raised through the registration fees that will go to the on-going downtown recovery efforts.

It was a great challenge but great fun as well...and I didn't finish last! Here's my time as I crossed the finish line (not bad for an old gal). I stayed in the middle of the pack and had friends to keep me company.

Dad and daughter walked their own pace and had a couple hours of uninterrupted conversation. Here they are joining me at the finish line:

Thank goodness for whirlpool tubs, Advil and Icy Hot, I lived to tell about it!


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