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About 75 Cairo residents attend service of thanksgiving

Sunday, June 5, 2011

(Photo)
From left, Ray Whitworth, Elsie Eggimann, Charlene Reed and Claretha Marshall join hands as they sing "Reach Out and Touch" during a community service Saturday at Cairo High School celebrating the town being spared from flooding destruction.
(Kristin Eberts) [Order this photo]
CAIRO, Ill. -- With her hands held high, swaying in the air above her, Stacy Smith-Fulia of Cairo sang praise to God with a thankful heart Saturday night.

She joined about 75 people in the Cairo High School gym for a community service of thanksgiving organized by several local churches to thank God that the city wasn't destroyed during recent flooding.

"We are here for no other reason but to give God the glory and thank him," the Rev. Lorenzo Nelson said. "Just in the nick of time, He showed up."

Pastors recalled the conditions in the community as the waters of the Ohio River continued to rise.

The town of 2,800 residents was evacuated as the Ohio River reached 61.72 feet and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers breached a levee near Wyatt, Mo., to relieve pressure of the bloated Ohio and the Mississippi rivers.

The Rev. Larry Potts recalled families loading everything they owned into pickup trucks, nursing homes being evacuated and massive sand boils that threatened the integrity of the town's levee.

"Praise be to God that when the evacuation order was lifted, people had a home to come back to," said Mayor Tyrone Coleman, who was sworn in May 2 as the river was about to reach its record crest.

He urged people not to put their faith in state or federal officials but in God, who has a plan for Cairo.

Last month, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn asked President Barack Obama to declare Alexander and 13 other Southern Illinois counties federal disaster areas due to widespread flooding. A declaration has not yet been made.

"For sure, everyone is glad to be back. Now their attention has turned to question what type of assistance they're going to be receiving," Coleman said before the service. "We're just waiting on the president. They're pretty anxious about that."

The city is still assessing damage to its infrastructure from May's flooding. Coleman estimates damage at more than $1 million, and repair work hasn't yet started.

Those attending Saturday's service see surviving the flood as a new beginning for their community.

"The only way Cairo is going to change is if people of faith come together and bring about a change," Coleman said. The comment drew a standing ovation from the crowd.

Smith-Fulia, who has lived in Cairo for six years, said she believes God brings out the good in every situation.

"I've been waiting for something like this to bring people together," she said about Saturday's service. "When I heard about it, I just had to come."

The Rev. Donald Topp said Saturday's service was the start of something good.

"This day starts a different set of wheels turning in the city," he said. "Where I can love you, not because of the color of your skin, or where you work, but I can love you just because you are a child of God."

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

Washington Avenue, Cairo, IL


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75 people show up out of 2800?

I hope the rest were out busy helping the Missouri neighbors that lost everything for this worthless town that has nothing to give to the food chain, or life.

God bless foodstamps and welfare!

Dont bother spending money on the lotto, invest with me on a liquor store that sell guns in Cairo!

-- Posted by c'monnowppl on Sun, Jun 5, 2011, at 3:15 AM

It is not a Missouri farmers vs. Cairo issue! We lost our home and do not live in Cairo. We would not be living in our camper and would have my beautiful childhood home to live in, if they would have only broken the levee one day earlier, but instead lawsuits and arguing. My family is not on food stamps. Most people who LOST their homes in Illinois are not on food stamps. Our farmers were affected, too, but instead of fighting the inevitable, they accepted it. They are smart enough to realize that after the water recedes, you plow off the sand and get back to work. Where do you think we got all the sand to tirelessly fill millions of sandbags to try to save our towns to no avail??

-- Posted by whatever123 on Sun, Jun 5, 2011, at 7:33 AM

It is not a Missouri farmers vs. Cairo issue! We lost our home and do not live in Cairo. We would not be living in our camper and would have my beautiful childhood home to live in, if they would have only broken the levee one day earlier, but instead lawsuits and arguing. My family is not on food stamps. Most people who LOST their homes in Illinois are not on food stamps. Our farmers were affected, too, but instead of fighting the inevitable, they accepted it. They are smart enough to realize that after the water recedes, you plow off the sand and get back to work. Where do you think we got all the sand to tirelessly fill millions of sandbags to try to save our towns to no avail??

-- Posted by whatever123 on Sun, Jun 5, 2011, at 7:34 AM

These 75 Cairo people could at least offer a hand and help the people with clean up over next door in Mississippi County, Missouri after all the Mississippi County folks gave up everything of many years of hard work.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Sun, Jun 5, 2011, at 9:04 AM

A lot of these 75 people that have offered a hand with the cleanup over in their own county, Alexander County, where hundreds of houses were flooded because of the delay in the breaching of the levee. Everyone needs to know their facts before they start being so judgmental. I live in Illinois, have lost my house and see many people in this picture who have offered me their help.

-- Posted by whatever123 on Sun, Jun 5, 2011, at 9:14 AM

Why don't all of us here get off our rear ends and help our fellow neighbors instead of harboring destructive feelings towards people who had no real control of the situation at all? Why blame people for something that they realistically had no control over?

-- Posted by Cap_Anson on Sun, Jun 5, 2011, at 1:16 PM

As an intelligent Christian this is what I don't understand. God saved Cairo and destroyed other good folks homes? Really? Are we that much in need of an explaination for every little thing? How bout good things happen sometimes and bad things happen sometime to both the deserving and undeserving alike.

-- Posted by LEGION63 on Sun, Jun 5, 2011, at 6:20 PM

Why does everyone think the floodway was activated just to save Cairo. This is absolutely NOT TRUE. It saved towns all the way down the Mississippi River. Instead of blaming Cairo maybe you haters should do a little research. The New Madrid Floodway is one of four floodways that the Corps designed into the Mississippi Rivers and Tributaries Project (MR&T)---the entire flood control system that Congress authorized in 1928 following the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. The MR&T levee system extends along the Mississippi River all the way from the bootheal of Missouri to the Gulf of Mexico affecting a 35,000 sq. mile project area. The Federal Government has COMPENSATED FLOODWAY INHABITANTS by purchasing flowage easement to flood their land, and the government is required to compensate landowner's within all of the MR&T project floodways who would be subjected "to additional destructive floodwaters that will pass by reason of diversion" from the Mississippi River. How come you don't hear the people crying the blues over in Illinois and down in Louisiana? They lost corps and homes also. The Missourians are a shameful bunch of crybabies, acting like no one lost anything except them.

-- Posted by Goose Hunter on Mon, Jun 6, 2011, at 9:01 AM

cairo is still a crap hole

-- Posted by TommyStix on Mon, Jun 6, 2011, at 9:09 AM

It is time to decommission the flood way, rebuild the levee and tell Cairo they are on their own . I wonder how many people in Alexander co will rush down to sand bag .

-- Posted by True-American on Mon, Jun 6, 2011, at 9:30 AM

I sure am glad these people are not like the people of Cairo.

http://www.kansascity.com/2011/06/07/293...

-- Posted by True-American on Wed, Jun 8, 2011, at 9:22 AM


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