Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Before We Had "The Floods of '93"

This isn't another post about the Floods of '93 which I wrote about here. This is about a previous flood warning for Valley Junction - July, 1986.
In 1985 I begin working at Wright Tree Service in West Des Moines. At that time the offices were at 139 Sixth Street in West Des Moines - just a block north of Railroad Avenue. This whole area is just a short distance from the Raccoon River.
At that time we were still living in the apartment on Grand - high and dry and away from any flooding - so I wasn't concerned when heavy rains upstream led to possible flooding downstream. But the office was in danger of flooding so all the employees went into defense mode.

First Pete and some of the guys from the residential tree care crew brought in a load of sand bags.

And all the entrances were barricaded. Our company president John R. standing in front of the main door.

While inside the building furniture was placed on top of desks. On the left is Pete's office with his antique sofa up high. On the right is a glimpse of John's office with some chairs on top of filing cabinets.

My office was just outside the computer room. I remember we had recently updated the computers and getting the big IBM mainframe up on cement blocks was quite an undertaking.

Secretary of the company, office manager and my direct boss, Ruth M. in her office. She was one of my all-time favorite bosses. I learned a lot from her. She was tough, but fair. In an office full of women there were bound to be disagreements once in a while. She would bring both parties into her office and make them sit down and talk out their differences. Ruth was with Wright Tree for 38 years, retiring in 1994. She passed away last August.

All of our work safeguarding the office paid off. It didn't get flooded. We put everything back into place and got back to work.

The following year it was decided that the office personnel would benefit from going out to visit the crews around the country. We had tree-trimming contracts with power companies all over the United States. I remember two or three of the women flying out to Washington and Oregon. Some went to Wisconsin and Illinois.
1987 was the year my daughter started college at Macalester in St. Paul and I didn't have any way of moving her there. I was able to make a deal when it came time for me to choose where I wanted to go. I chose Farmington, Minnesota just south of St. Paul and rather than flying me into Minneapolis, I was able to use a company pickup and drive there, taking my daughter and her stuff to school.

I look at the above photo now and cringe. I could no more go up that high in a bucket truck now than I could run a marathon! I can't believe I did that!

Wright Tree Service and Wright Outdoor Solutions are now headquartered in a new building located on the south side of Grand Avenue out west of West Des Moines on the road to Booneville. They are even closer to the Raccoon River now - still in danger of flooding.

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