Lincoln, Neb.,
18
February
2020
|
09:58 PM
America/Chicago

Donations Support Nebraskans After 2019 Flooding

Several states, including Nebraska, experienced record flooding in 2019. Employees and agents banded together to support those in need.

It’s a scene we’ve taken in before – piles of insulation, dry wall and furniture litters yards as people attempt to recover from a catastrophe.

In 2019, Nebraska had a historic and catastrophic year for flooding. Destruction escalated when dams were destroyed, leading to road and bridge failure. The small community of King Lake took on 6 feet of water in late March, and the community was still trying to recover come October.

“It was getting cold and the majority of residents still had no power or heat and little, if any, money. They were living in  trailers outside their home, in small apartments nearby or with family members in Omaha,” State Farm® Agent Tim Edwards said. “Some were even living in their homes with just a wood stove.”

Tim, his son and several friends stepped in to help through the nonprofit Omaha Rapid Response. The group would go from house to house Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, insulating the homes and hanging drywall.

“We always meet the homeowner and through tears they thank us constantly,” he said. “We are on our 11th building now and intend to continue until it warms up. Our group really enjoys each other and helping the people of King Lake.”

“Nebraska Strong”

The Lincoln Operation Center’s Lead Where You Live committee saw the devastation throughout the community and partnered with Public Affairs to bring together employees and Nebraska agents to help.

“There was an automatic reaction of ‘how can we help and take advantage of opportunities State Farm provides?’” Nate McHargue, Government Affairs Coordinator in Lincoln, Neb., said.

Claims Support Supervisor Molly Honke researched what actions would make sense to help with flood relief. Employees and agents contributed $3,530 to the American Red Cross, which was matched by the State Farm Companies Foundation Matching Gift program, and State Farm contributed another $100,000 to the American Red Cross to assist with flood relief across Nebraska and Iowa. State Farm also gave a $23,000 grant to the Fremont (Nebraska) Area Habitat for Humanity to support home repairs. The team also gathered baby items, non-perishable food items and other goods to donate.

Following the flooding, the saying “Nebraska Strong” spread. On a wall in the Lincoln Operation Center, a cut-out of the state was put up, and people were invited to write what made them “Nebraska Strong,” to inspire others to participate in acts of good.

“Some people were sharing how they are ‘Nebraska Strong,’ and some were things they do in their community – this is what I’ve done to demonstrate ‘Nebraska Strong,’” Molly said.

“It made it that much more of a community in the office,” Nate added. “Collaboration doesn’t always occur. This created that opportunity for us and created an opportunity to get to know people.”

Molly mentioned there is already a sense of pride that comes from being from Nebraska. “We really rally around being from Nebraska – from things like this to sports. Any time someone is successful, there is support. It’s an embodiment of that philosophy.”