Ron Clark and Thomas J. Bender interview about the Midwest floods of June 2008, Iowa City, Iowa, September 30, 2008

Dublin Core


Ron Clark and Thomas J. Bender interview about the Midwest floods of June 2008, Iowa City, Iowa, September 30, 2008


Floods; Evacuations; Disaster relief

Clark, Ron; Bender, Thomas J.

United States -- Iowa -- Iowa City; United States -- Iowa -- Iowa River



Interview with friends Ron Clark (58) of Muscatine, Iowa and Thomas J. Bender (54) of Iowa City, Iowa.

Thomas (age 54) and Ron (age 58) are involved in the Riverside Theater, and they talk about how the summer Shakespeare Festival was affected and how the community came together.

Tom's background with the Riverside Theater - small setting, fell in love when he come to see Ron's shows (00:01:45) -- Tom called Ron - Tom's office right on the river, was concerned about Riverside's costume shop. Sandbagging, sealing. Ron thought he was overreacting (00:02:51) -- Summer Shakespeare Festival about to start - Tom had been in insurance and risk management (00:04:37) -- November through May - lots of rain. Ron in denial about the flood. Couldn't rely on the news reports. "CFS" - Cubic Feet per Second became a commonly known acronym. Reservoir was supposed to protect them - now it was the "enemy." (00:05:30) -- Ron's wife, artistic director. They started researching it, worrying about scene shop. It had flooded in 1993 - supposed to be a "100 year flood" (00:09:00) -- Twelve people, three pickup trucks - evacuated the shop. Couldn't get everything. Run on temporary storage in the area. People being evacuated from multiple places in a row. Barely time to look at the big picture (00:10:45) -- Tom - sandbagging in Coralville (00:13:35) -- The morning the levee broke - volunteers came out of the woodwork. Mini-sandbag factory, 80-90 people. Needed 1,700 sandbags. Three foot wall around building (00:15:36) -- Tom with his son Robby - knew they had to get a generator started. Police stopped him, Tom begged to get past. Parked on the median. Exhausted, pitch black. Had to swim to the building - son went first. Swam alone for fifteen minutes. Fearing for his son's life (00:18:06) -- Going to the scene/costume shop. Very dangerous - building had been lifted off the foundation. Building in danger of collapse. Getting ill from the air down there. "Worse than Hell" (00:23:23) -- Ron talks about the Shakespeare Festival - performed "A Comedy of Errors." Received lots of contributions to recover losses (00:32:48) -- Outdoor theater - built sandbag wall extra eight feet high to get it "above the flood level." Company meeting in the midst of the flood. Didn't want to cancel the festival. Last rehearsal in City Park - water coming up. Knew no one else would see that performance. Moved to City High (00:34:06) -- Recovery, Iowa City government (00:41:00)


Clark, Ron; Bender, Thomas J.


StoryCorps (Project); University of Iowa. Libraries. Digital Research & Publishing





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