The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Recovering From Their Disasters

by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner

Tuesday was 9-11, and the question asked at West Central School in morning announcements was, "Do you remember where you were when you heard the news that day?"

Most of us recall disasters due to the strong feelings it stirs inside us, and 9-11 was one that Americans of this generation will carry with them as long as they live.

Along with the feelings of horror, comes a deep appreciation to the many who pour out their concern which brings a rainbow of goodness that unexpectedly brings comfort.

Around our area, several have been hit with disasters recently, and three of the many victims talked of their fires or storm damage, their progress afterwards, and their gratefulness in the midst of it all.

Mike Cole, of Cole's Implement, Inc. in Media, said their families were devastated when a fire destroyed most of their business in early July.

They have been busy doing their own clean-up while keeping up with the demands of Harvest. Temporary trailers have been set up as offices and the business continues to meet their customers' needs.

The building was selected on 9-11 that will replace the old and along with it, Cole's will be restructuring the area that is left to make it a more modern and advanced building to adapt to the larger farm equipment.

"Every dark cloud has a silver lining," Mike said.

"Although we lost a great deal, we will become a better and more efficient dealer for our customers. And we will have a more cost effective building for us."

"Sure, harvest has set us back in our recovery efforts, but we are pushing through as we help our customers have a good and safe harvest."

Cole's customers have been very loyal and understanding as they go through their reconstruction and recovery, as has their suppliers.

In Oquawka, Ron Killip is recovering from losing Killip's Septic Service building located on 3rd and the Delabar State Park road.

On August 12th, he was wakened by cars honking at his river home warning him that his shop was on fire on 3rd street. When he arrived the fire department was there and it was pretty much engulfed in flames

"I lost a couple of weeks of work cleaning up, but I've started getting back business. Customers have been very patient but I just was able to replace a septic system today (9-11)." he said.

Where Coles fire was caused by electrical problems Killip said he noticed a door was kicked in, he assumed by firemen.

However, firemen said they didn't kick it in, and upon further investigation, Ron saw that a hammer drill, saw and several items were missing and his four-wheeler was moved up by the garage door.

"I hadn't put it there." he said. Two men from Kirkwood were arrested later that morning in Warren County and found with the stolen items.

Ron said, the crazy thing was when they took the tools, they allegedly rolled the 4-wheeler to the door, went to check if it had gas in it by taking off the gas cap and then lighting a lighter to look inside.

"These weren't kids," he said. "They were 24 and 30 I believe."

Killip is devastated with the loss of items he can not replace.

"It was 40 years of collecting. There were items of my dads and granddads, many that had special meaning."

He had things from their farm sale, and his dad played horse shoes and there were trophies, and items he had grown up with.

"I just had to throw them in the dumpster."

On the bright side, "Lots of friends came out to help.

"Seeing friends come makes you glad you live in a small community. Everyone shows concern. You don't realize how good a friends you have until you see them come out all black and covered with soot from sorting, and doing inventory on your losses."

"They would call out a lost item, and my wife Betty, would write it down."

Ron said the fire department and police have been very helpful, and luckily the police hit a stroke of luck (with the Warren County arrest.)"

Ron has been repairing equipment enough to get work done for customers and he says he still has a lot of tools to buy.

"They say you have to be tough to live on the river," Killip said.

Ray Defenbaugh said Beulah Land Grain in Kirkwood is coming along all right with their recovery efforts after 110 mph corn flattened all but 40 acres of their crops and damaged their four grain bins at their elevator last month.

"We're thankful no one as injured. We've had a lot of cooperation from concrete pourers, bin builders, and neighbors who came in to help clean up.

"They not only helped at our place but throughout Kirkwood.

"We had people come who lived nearby and friends from 100 miles away. People volunteered their equipment, other elevators offered their support, and several bin sale people in the area offered to supply or sell us with bins. Communities pull together in times like these," Defenbaugh said.

Concrete is being poured almost daily as weather allows so they will be ready for the bins that are to soon arrive.

About 10 percent of the crop has been picked but it has been slow moving, Ray admitted.

"If anyone wants the corn we are leaving behind," they are welcome to it. Just give Matt, Dan, or I a call."

Defenbaugh said the corn is so flat, you can see a rabbit running across it.

"It is slow picking. Moisture effects it late in the evening. It is not so bad when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing."

Ray said the corn is showing a good test rate that is acceptable, 21%, 23%, and 24%."

The field is finished east of Kirkwood that we pick for Bruce Wolf. It was terribly bad.

Defenbaughs are picking the early varieties first and at the same time having concrete poured for their bins. They just finished pouring the footings for the next to the last bin Tuesday (9-11). The bins come next week, and they need to be ready so they can use them for the majority of harvest.

There is also some trash from town that landed in their bean and corn fields that still need to be removed.

"I can't jump for joy about what happened, but I am eternally grateful. Good came out it.

"It helped me meet old friends I hadn't seen for a long time."

People dropped what they were doing and gave encouragement from farming, ethanol, and church contacts.

"Emotional support in words is as important as deeds," he said.

For several days, state and city rallied to help along with police and the Red Cross, who brought in food and drink.

"It's American tradition pulling together in times of disasters," Ray said.