It was somewhere around 11 a.m. four days after the May 2010 flood when I realized Betsy and I could not handle providing flood relief for thousands of people by ourselves. I called my friend, Kim. “We need a third general,” I told her. She showed up a couple of hours later. That was more than two years ago.
Now, flood relief and recovery is winding down. Kim is moving on to other opportunities in her talented life. And the original Chicks are immeasurably sad. It’s amazing the many blessings that came out of that terrible tragedy. The Chicks have a new and beautiful home after our own flood disaster. So many people are better off than they were before the flood, with homes that are for the first time up to code and with new furniture. And we have had two years of the most amiable and capable company in the person of Kim Council.
When we were in flood relief mode, just after the flood when people needed water and bleach and cleaning supplies and new clothes, we bumped into each other a bit. Three Type A women, all with a pretty good idea of what needed to be done but maybe not the same idea. This was new territory for us. We’d never been to this rodeo. But once things settled in, it was clear that Kim would take over the role of flood recovery manager. As people started to get back in their homes, she managed the building supplies, the new furniture, the appliances, the carpet and the mattresses that everyone needed. She’s done this with amazing calm, considering she’s been working with distraught homeowners and damaged souls trying to make sense of why their lives washed away in 45 minutes.
So let’s be clear about what this entailed. A 90,000-square-foot warehouse. More than 3,000 pieces of new furniture. A meticulous system of determining the eligibility of the recipients (i.e., guarding against the scammers who inevitably try to cash in on tragedy). The safety of the survivors (no, you cannot put three mattress sets on the bed of a pick-up truck and lay on top of them as you drive down the Interstate – true story). And just the sheer stupidity, sad to say, of some recipients who showed up in a Nissan Altima to pick up a dresser, couch and dining set.
One of the sweetest spots of this whole adventure has been watching Betsy and Kim bond. Betsy, girlie girl beyond all measure, and Kim, who
would rather be using a forklift and power tools. I have known Kim for more than 10 years and if you told me that Betsy would have her wearing a pink tiara around the warehouse I would have called you crazy. But if there’s a third wheel in this relationship, I am it. Those two are tighter than ticks.
Now Kim has other fish to fry. She has a kayak business. Support that. You’ll have fun. She’s also a guiding force behind Casting for Recovery, which provides female cancer patients with a restorative weekend getaway to rejuvenate and work through the terrifying realities of the disease.
Most of you have forgotten the flood. But for the last two years, Kim Council has provided fragile people with the hope of a new life. Normalcy. An empty room filled with new furniture. A mattress to sleep on. A machine that washes your dirty clothes. That thing you put your food in called a refrigerator.
You’ve done good, Kim Council. You put people back together again. You are a part of history.