Lessons Learned As Flooding Troubles Continue

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STILLWATER -- It has been two years since a time many people from our area will never forget--the flood of 2011. One of the areas hit hard was Columbia County.

Doctor John Shonis of Fishing Creek Veterinary Clinic near Benton looked at the damage a storm on labor day left behind. He said his clinic was flooded with around four inches of water.

Shonis has memories of a much worse flood almost exactly two years earlier. The flood of 2011 severly damaged his business.

"We lost a lot of equipment inside. We had $350,000 losses in the building. At that time we were down for almost three weeks," Shonis said.

"It does seem like yesterday. We spent an entire month cleaning up, getting our clinic back in order," employee Sandy Conner said.

Shonis says it is ironic that on the two-year anniversary of the flood of 2011, he is cleaning up from another flood. The storm on Labor Day took Shonis and his staff by surprise. Some of his classic cars have water damage, but staff worked hard to clean and disinfect the clinic. It reopened the next day.

"This time we knew to elevate a lot of our equipment eight inches just in case. We saved a lot of equipment. Just that mud. That mud is unbelievable. It gets everywhere," Shonis said.

Dr. Shonis says he would like to see fishing creek evaluated by the state so flooding issues don't continue to happen.

"I think everybody along all these creeks will feel threatened at some time with the rains," Shonis said.

Staff at Fishing Creek Veterinary Hospital says the community in the Benton area pulled together during the floods. They say that is the one positive thing about the flooding.

"The camaraderie and the teamwork that we have. We work really well together," Conner said.

These people who live and work near Benton say they can only hope and pray more flooding does not happen in the future. They've had enough.