Our county officials reported at least $27 million in damage – $18 million to 300 homes and about $9 million to 75 businesses, which was mostly limited to water damage in downtown Gainesville. The floods also damaged 75 percent of the area's agricultural crops, leaving small grains and corn harvests in ruin.
Far worse... two small girls and their grandmother were lost when their mobile home was swept into a flood-swollen creek and split apart when it struck a bridge.
They died in Pecan Creek which was supposed to have been widened three years ago in an $8.7 million project approved by local voters, but it was held up due to lack of federal funds and a moratorium of Army Corps of Engineers' projects.
No one in this town of some 16,000 stood in the knee-deep water demanding the federal government "do something." No one called the President vile names, our mayor didn't try to play politics and pass the buck.
The frontier spirit that build this town before the Civil War has never been replaced by the big city helplessness and hopelessness where personal responsibility can be as rare as a clean cop in New Orleans.
Neighbor helped neighbor... our fire department, police, sheriffs, EMS, performed as they should, volunteers and citizens pitched in.
There were no debit cards, looting either went unreported or did not exist; families took in their members... neighbors looked out for their friends and strangers alike.
The dead were recovered, cared for and received dignified and caring treatment to the grave.
No anger, no demands, no politics... this was Mother Nature, God... if you must blame Someone.
We don't have a "Ninth Ward" (liberal, Katrina-speak for minority neighborhoods) but there are predominately black and brown parts of Gainesville. From what I could observe, all residents who needed help received volunteer and tax-payer supported services, and help from local and regional faith-based organizations.
The ironically named Noah's Arc, our "no-kill" animal shelter, opened its doors to lost and displaced pets.
Lives have been interrupted; lives have been taken... tens of millions in damages, people displaced, irreplaceable personal treasures swept away, and worst of all... the bottomless grief of families and their friends.
But you won't find anyone here whining... feeling sorry for themselves.
Even before the waters receded, these Texans were about the business of fighting back with a complete understanding of fate, Mother Nature, the need for self-reliance, prayer and a deep appreciation for a community filled with people who help one another.
No one looked for a handout... anyone who needed it received a hand up.
Probably the best thing about yesterday's defeat of the Terrorist Assistance Act in the Senate is that it proved what Americans can do when they get off their backsides and take some direct action... namely threatening every politician inside the Beltway when his job if the the amnesty bill passed.
Americans (born and naturalized) angered by a do-nothing Congress willing to throw citizenship pearls before hordes of criminals in exchange for eventual votes, shut down the Senate switchboard will outraged calls.
Enough of the politicians backed down... while the usual suspects complained bitterly about "loud" people and that damned talk radio... even threatening to facilitate the vampire-like return of the Fairness for Leftist Pols Doctrine.
Figgers... liberals and leftists don't trust the American people... "We the People"... appears nowhere in the democrat party handbook. They don't want a choice on the airwaves or anywhere else... they want it like it was before 1988 the the "Fairness (sic) Doctrine" allowed them total control of the radio and TV broadcast media--24-7 of Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, NPR... etc.
Oh.. it wasn't just the libs like Sen. Di Frankenfinestein and Rep. Harry Reid... RHINOs like Trent Lott railed that "Talk radio was running the country!"
"Talk radio" is a euphemism; the truth is... the American people run the country, when they want to.
Members of a U.S. casualty identification team on Iwo Jima report that they have arrived at the area where Sgt. Bill Genaust is thought to have been killed and buried during the battle six decades ago.
On the southwestern slope of Hill 362A the team found two caves which are promising, and another two which had not been previously mapped. The sites will require major excavation and heavy equipment.
The team has wrapped up its 10-day mission which was termed "very successful" and will begin preparations for an extensive search at a later date.
Genaust is the Marine combat cameraman who filmed the raising of the US flag on the strategic island in early 1945.
Click here for a slide-show of the mission.