Pamela Stowell had seen the water beside her Longmont, Colo., home rise before, but never with the speed and intensity as it did this time.
Knowing that the family had only a few minutes to evacuate, she quickly hustled her two young daughters into action.
By the time Crystal, 9, and JoAnn, 5, grabbed some clothing and headed out the door, the water was two feet high – and rising.
The family now faced a dilemma – how to evacuate Pamela’s elderly bedridden mother. A neighbor quickly found an air mattress, and they managed to float the family to safety.
The entire family spent a few nights at an American Red Cross shelter in nearby Mead. After returning back home to face the daunting task of cleaning up, Pamela praised the staff and volunteers of the Red Cross.
“Red Cross is great – they gave us a place to stay,” she said.
She said her family had been impressed by everyone at the shelter – so much so, that she is already planning a “thank-you” picnic for some time next year – as well as making a financial donation once the family is back on their feet.
As far as the disaster that affected her home, she keeps a positive attitude.
“Hey – a disaster is certainly one way to get to know your neighbors better!” she said.