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Dan Gall and Kristi Bontrager interview about the Midwest floods of June 2008, Iowa City, Iowa, September 30, 2008

Dan Gall  and Kristi Bontrager interview about the Midwest floods of June 2008, Iowa City, Iowa, September 30, 2008


Dan Gall and Kristi Bontrager interview about the Midwest floods of June 2008, Iowa City, Iowa, September 30, 2008


Interview with friends and colleagues Kristi Bontrager (38) of Akron, Ohio and Dan Gall (39) of Cleveland, Ohio.
Dan (age 39) and Kristi (age 38) discuss evacuating Dan's residence before the floods. They discuss the sense of comradery Dan witnessed as he helped a community in their sandbagging efforts.
Hearing about flood of 1993 as Dan was looking for a home. Rented in Mosquito Flats neighborhood. Obviously a flood plain (00:01:21) -- Dan remembers the timeline. Feels like a lucky one from the flood (00:03:28) -- Dan describes events before the flood. Steam carpet cleaned scheduled for Friday morning of flood. Came very close to things being much worse (00:04:00) -- Lead-up to flood, getting release from University to go fill sandbags. Going to old neighborhood to help build retaining wall. Mowing the lawn after spending hours sandbagging - something so trivial (00:06:55) -- Evacuation orders. Getting stuff out of rental house. Wall didn't do much when flood came. Dan describes where the wall was built and where it broke. A mile long wall. Taller than six feet (00:09:33) -- the sandbag filling was strangely festive. Sense of shared purpose - saving their own house or there because people needed help - Dan had already moved but wanted to help (00:12:25) -- Dan's wife also worked sandbagging and trading off childcare. Some people building their own wall (00:14:03) -- Having strangers in the neighborhood - there to help but felt also invasive. Mostly a "real communal thing" (00:15:29) -- Dan's son worries about water damage and flood - five years old. Hadn't had a chance to say goodbye to the house. Afraid that house had literally been "washed away" (00:16:26) -- Rental house had two feet of water in it and is now completely gutted (00:20:21) -- Dan feels bad for the family who own the house - house is their family home. Tried to protect property as much as possible (00:21:12) -- How flood affected Meredith. Neighborhood they moved to was virtually unaffected. Big worry about creeks backing up in new neighborhood (00:23:59) -- Impression of city government and university response to flood. Reasonably good response. At first university tried to keep track of hours but then endorsed any kind of flood relief (00:27:31) -- Number of people volunteering, filling sandbags. "That impressed me" (00:30:00) -- Pulling books out of the library to save. Chaos of book trucks and hand-over-hand passing. Running over guy's toes next to him. A young teenager at bottom of ramp who worked well with Dan. No idea who this woman is (00:31:54) -- Dark humor and teasing - Dan running people over. "It's a lot more pleasant if people laugh" (00:36:12) -- Columbus Junction started flood damage control measures. Realized town was doomed and went to another town to help (00:37:57) -- Plans to stay in Iowa to be close to grandma and grandpa. Always something to worry about (00:39:00)


Bontrager, Kristi; Gall, Dan


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




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Iowa City Flood
Flood Oral Histories






Oral histories (Document genres)