“Angels of the sky” have organized in an amazing way to bring much-needed relief those whose lives were upended this week in Nebraska by severe flooding.
Over the past weekend, deadly flooding decimated Nebraskan communities, turning cities into flood plains and in the case of Fremont, an island. The waters separated families, destroyed homes, and wiped out the entire crops of some farmers, leaving many families in complete disarray.
With 53 counties in a state of emergency, people of good will began the herculean effort to get aid into these flooded areas.
It wasn’t long before Millard Airport was one of the places quickly filling up with supplies.
In an interview with Faithwire, Rachel Tiller, a local real estate agent from Ohama, shared how sweet it was to see all the volunteer help come together.
“There was nothing official about it, I shared a status on Facebook, asking pilots to donate their time, or people to donate supplies, and it blew up,” she said.
“People showed up at the airport wanting to help, supplies were being dropped off like crazy, and donations were being made from people that were too far to help physically,” Tiller added.
Get the word out we have pilots waiting at Millard Aiport to take people out to Fremont and pick people up from Fremont…
Tiller’s Facebook post garnered over 2,000 shares, and as a result, donations flooded the airport where she, among many others, were collecting supplies.
Tiller’s husband, Brandon, used his plane to shuttle supplies back and forth to the Fremont area, sharing on Facebook that they “got hundreds of flights out with tens of thousands of dollars of goods.”
Local pilots stepped in to help out, shuttling supplies to the Fremont area, and bringing people to and from the isolated weather-created island.
In an interview with Faithwire, Wade Mayfield, a volunteer pilot and full-time president of a heating and plumbing company in Omaha, explained why he thinks it is important for the country to know what’s going on in Nebraska.
“It’s the old flyover country,” Mayfield said. “Whatever you’re disconnected from personally, it tends to not hold much value.”
“These are salt of the earth people that just lost all of their livestock, lost horses, houses, and farming equipment,” he added. “These aren’t affluent people that live in these small towns. Tragedy strikes them harder than anybody else because they don’t have the means or the family network. Life is already a struggle, so when you get hit by something like this, its devastating.”
“It’s not, quote unquote, a sexy story, which doesn’t drive traffic for large media companies,” he noted.
He recalled reuniting a family with their mother who was on her death bed in the hospital. He recalled another young boy who became separated from his family because of the flood waters, whom he flew back to meet his mom.
“We all just gave what we had,” Mayfield told Faithwire.
Rachel Tiller also recalled stories in which she coordinated flights to reunite families. She shared one photo to Facebook of a mother and baby, whom she helped coordinate flights to get them back together, as the Grandpa was watching the baby before the flooding started.
Helped unite this mother and baby. Grandpa was watching her and now she is with mama.
John Goerzen, another volunteer pilot, shared to Facebook the story of one family he brought home.
“I particularly remember the family of four I carried home from Omaha. They had a 1-week old baby. They had gone from Fremont to Omaha for a doctor appointment for the baby, and then couldn’t get back home,” he said.
“They’d been stuck for 3 days and had no way home except by air,” he added.
In total, Goerzen flew “13 people, one dog, and various cargo that had been donated: bottled water, blankets, toilet paper, all the things people need. And there were dozens more doing this sort of thing too.”
The stories are endless, but according to Mayfield, they have one thing in common, a desire to help, with no reward.
He explained that even though these pilots were not getting anything in return, it shone a light on the good side of humanity when we are so often flooded by the negative side of humanity.
“We live in a world today that is totally engrossed in what is wrong with humanity, and one another,” Mayfield stated. “This event should teach us all that none of that matters, people acted out of goodwill, no matter what their social status, economic status, or religious beliefs.
“It’s refreshing to see the best of humanity when we are constantly served up with what the worst of humanity is.”
Rachel Tiller agreed, saying that it was amazing to just see people “show up.”
“In a devastating disaster, it is amazing to see people come together to support each other,” Tiller added.
Tiller added photos to Facebook on Monday, thanking volunteers, and adding that 1,000 people were in and out of the airport over the weekend.
In a devastating disaster, it is amazing to see people come togther to support each other. Thank you to all the pilots…
How can people help?
If you want to help, but are not in proximity to Nebraska, you can donate to a GoFundMe here, that Rachel Tiller set up in order to buy more supplies.
“We are using the money to buy diapers, blankets, formula, and supplies to fly in with pilot volunteers,” Tiller wrote on the GoFundMe page. “We are buying items the community is needing and the list is getting long! Water, food, and necessities.”
So far, around $2,000 has been donated to help the Nebraska flood aviation relief.
In the meantime, pray for the communities affected by the flooding, including farmers who lost everything, families whose homes are ruined, and cities that will need to rebuild.