The man flooded out of his home desperately wanted to get back inside his house to grab a few things for his family and to see the damage done by the rushing water. This Oneida home owner waited patiently for four hours. Just as his turn for the police escort into the muddy water that used to be his street heavy rain started to fall. Police called off the home visit. The father of two blew his lid. He lost his temper.
To the great credit of the officer on the scene he calmed the man down and took him to a nearby diner where he bought him a cup of coffee. The two sat down and talked. The homeowner apologized and got his emotions under control. Frustration and exhaustion were getting the best of him.
There's a big difference between the intensity and fear of the initial moment of the flood and the sadness and confusion of the prolonged realization that comes days later. At first it was a flight to survive. Neighbors shouted to one another to get out of the house as the water quickly rushed toward them in the early morning hours. Now, it is a search for answers and information. The displaced want a plan for how their new life will look.
The layers of government agencies now involved are nearly as deep as the water. The police, the mayor, the governor, the country, the federal government. Learning a process for how to get help has turned into a full time job for people deeply in need. The process will sort out. As the governor shared today, people should be be prepared for the long haul and several conversations over a good cup of coffee.
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