Dealing With Disaster In Franklin
Volunteers from Franklin, Louisiana drove truckloads of supplies up to Old and New Franklin, Missouri to provide relief to flood victims.
Fighting floods is a game of inches. It was a game that Old and New Franklin lost in 1993. The disaster known as "The Great Flood" destroyed Peggy Heying's house in Franklin, Missouri. Twelve years later the view from Heying's front lawn brings back old memories.
"It takes everything you work for all your life...And it takes it away," Heying said.
On Heying's driveway twelve years ago stood three volunteers from Franklin, Louisiana. Hal Titus, Whitney Bourque, and Chuck Bourgioes came to clean up because they knew first hand about disasters from their experiences with Hurricane Andrew.
"When persons came to us with help from North Carolina and the rest of the United States, we had asked how can we repay the favor, and they said ya'll know when your time comes. And so this is our calling," Titus said.
Peggy Heying did fare well in the end. She lives in a new house on the same property.
"I want to thank 'em from the bottom of my heart because at the time there was...Well I couldn't have done what they done," Heying said.
The men from Franklin left Heying with a great impression of the town with the same name nearly 900 miles south in Louisiana. All three men, Titus, Burgoeis and Bourque all still live in Franklin, Louisiana. Chuck Bourgoeis is Franklin's Fire Chief. When asked about his volunteer work in Franklin, he remembered the muddy Missouri waters.
"I can't believe it was that long ago. I mean twelve years. Time flies, believe me," Bourgioes said.
Whitney Bourque is a police officer in Franklin. Time has only increased Bourque's strength.
"That's the reason why they bring me, to do all the work," Bourque said.
Paramedic Hal Titus remembers a little help goes a long way.
"We'll go anywhere. Apparently that's in our blood of south Louisiana. Everybody helps each other out," Titus said.
In a year when so many in south Louisiana needed help, Franklin was no exception.
"This year it just so happened we had Katrina pass to the right and Rita pass to the left, so we kind of got caught in the middle. We got the wind from Katrina and we got the water from Rita," Bourgioes said.
Bourgoeis helped sandbag by a canal in order to save a neighborhood.
"We watched the water level all night long. Constantly rising all night long," Burgoeis said.
The rising water only reached a few houses, but the scene was all too familiar.
"I never thought it would happen here, and yet twelve years later, here we are," Burgoeis said.
He said he often wonders how the residents of Franklin, Missouri are doing.
Resident Peggy Heying's looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner in her new house with her great-grandson Alex.
"He's going to cook for us for Thanksgiving," Heying said.
She can't help but be thankful for those three volunteers from Franklin, Louisiana who helped her deal with disaster. The story doesn't end there. Peggy Heying's great-grandson Alex and his friends carried on the tradition of giving back as they gave to Franklin, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.