By Cindy Huge, American Red Cross, Public Affairs Volunteer
“The river is rising so fast that it is not safe to come home.”
These were the words Cari Haggard heard when her frantic husband called her with the warning.
Haggard‘s husband had just finished mowing the lawn of their beautiful home when he noticed the Current River began to rapidly rise. He quickly called his wife who was out shopping to warn her of this danger.
Their dream home was surrounded by beautiful trees and sat on the shore of the Current River. The Haggards had searched a long time for what they thought would be a perfect place for retiring from the military. They wanted a small friendly town to raise their children, a set of young twins and two teenagers.
The Haggards enjoyed the peacefulness of sitting on their dock and listening to the sounds of the river slowly moving by. They were very happy to be able to have their own retirement home in Success, AR after serving 20 years in the military and moving frequently.
The peacefulness of their riverside property came to a halt when the river waters began rising, leaving only minutes for Haggard’s husband to gather the children and dog to evacuate.
As the family hurriedly got into their car, they tried to coax their dog to jump in. He would not move off the porch. They realized he was trapped under a large refrigerator that had been swept away in the rapidly moving waters and had landed on top of him.
A few tense moments ensued and finally they were able to move the heavy appliance, rescue their shivering, wet, terrified dog, and drive away to safety.
As the flood water receded some, Michael Haggard returned home and was able to wade through chest deep waters to search for anything that would be salvageable. When he saw his wife’s precious wedding gown, floating in the sealed bag she had placed it in, he quickly grabbed it, because he knew this was her most precious item. Her father had bought it for her as a surprise on her wedding day, and Michael still remembered how beautiful his wife looked in it.
The family is now safe living with relatives and pondering what their next step will be. The American Red Cross has provided financial assistance to them which was met with extreme gratitude by the family.
“This means more than we can ever explain. We are so grateful for how kind the Red Cross has been to our family,” said Cari Haggard.
You can help those affected by disasters and countless other crises by making a donation to support the Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org/donate or call 1-8-RED CROSS or text the words REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.