Craig, Mo., resident expresses concern residents and town’s future
By Ken Rosenauer, Red Cross public affairs
CRAIG, MISSOURI (April 5, 2019) — Pam Kent has lived in this Northwest Missouri community of 222 since 1975. Although her home was one of only about a dozen unscathed by floodwaters that began running through city streets a week ago, she is deeply pained by how much damage and loss her neighbors are enduring.
She has vivid memories of floods in 1993 and 2011, but neither of those reached current levels, and no homes in town were damaged.
This time, though, several feet of water damaged about 130 households as well as businesses and churches in town.
Even though her home was not damaged, Kent can reach it only by tractor. She is living now with her sister in Mound City.
Kent, who has worked for eight years selling advertising for the Mound City News, said she has worked as a volunteer with the Red Cross since 2010. She deployed to Joplin, Missouri, in May 2011 following the devastating tornado that claimed 158 lives. She was part of a team that offered counseling, care and assistance to families who lost members. Since then, she has done some work with Red Cross Disaster Action Teams.
According to online resources, about three-quarters of Craig residents own their homes — some of them families with deep roots and long histories here. Not all of them have flood insurance. Kent, a retired elementary school principal, said that she carried it until after the 2011 flood and then decided to risk going without it. With flood insurance costing an average of $700 annually, it’s a matter of economics. It’s also a gamble.
One family hauling furniture and belongings out of Craig on Monday said they were not going to return. They would take whatever settlement they can get from insurance and move on.
One of Kent’s sons lives in an older farm home in the bottoms outside of town. Water surrounded it last week but never entered the home itself. Even so, they don’t plan to return, opting to build on land in the hills east of Craig. In fact, the family of five will be moving to a one-bedroom house they own in the country until they get a new place built.
One of the things that worries Kent is that many more families will choose to move. Since 2010 the town had already seen a drop in population of 26 people.
The town has three small churches: the Presbyterian Church, the First Church of God and the Church of the Nazarene. All were flooded.
She plays the organ Sunday mornings at the Presbyterian Church and toured the flood-damaged sanctuary a few days ago. She found it diff
For the time being, Kent said, one of the congregations is meeting at the Nutrition Site in Mound City, Missouri, and another hopes to meet at a private residence in Mound City. All the congregations will face tough decisions in coming months about whether to return, clean up and repair.
She guessed that the weekly attendance for all three would total about 50 people. Not large numbers, perhaps, but pretty typical of many rural churches across Missouri.
Losing the churches would be a real blow to the town’s base. However, the real worry for Kent is the possibility that Craig R-3 school may close. According to online resources, the K-12 district has only 71 students. She has heard that classes will begin meeting soon at the River of Hope Fellowship, a church in nearby Forest City, Missouri.
Closing the school likely would send students to Mound City R-2, about 10 miles southeast. That K-12 district has 280 students.
On the bright side, the Golden Triangle Energy ethanol plant in town has not been flooded. That 20-year-old business employs about 38 people. Although it closed temporarily, officials say they will reopen as soon as feasible.
Kent plans to return to her home in Craig as soon as water and electricity are restored.