mygooi.com donates to Washington County Long Term Recovery Committee to help Blair residents.
mygooi.com, the mobile technology brand based in Des Moines, Iowa, and Chennai, India, that brings people together using innovative digital products, said it is making a donation to the Washington County Long Term Recovery Committee and hopes others will also help those suffering from the massive storm that hit Blair last week.
Harriet Waite, executive director of the Blair Area Chamber of Commerce, said two years ago the Missouri River flooded, forcing farmers out of their homes for three months, but the flooding largely missed Blair itself. “This time, the storm destroyed our whole town. There is not a single building without damage.”
The Long Term Recovery Committee was originally begun to aid those hurt by the 2012 flooding and will be used to help those suffering now. Donations can be sent to the Committee at 1646 Washington Street, Blair, NE, 68008.
Blair, with a population of approximately 8,000, suffered major damage caused by heavy rain, baseball-sized hail and wind gusts reported of up to 90 miles per hour. The storm dumped 3.8 inches of rain on the city and a record for the date of 5.3 inches on Omaha, 30 miles to the south.
“I’d never heard of mygooi before yesterday, but I’ve discovered that Blair is a totally gooi town. We’ve had our four-day festival (Gateway to the West Days) planned for the last year and everyone got together to make sure it still took place,” Waite said.
This was despite more rain Saturday morning and heavily damaged businesses along the two-mile parade route.
“People were calling to say ‘Please don’t cancel. That’s not what we do in Blair,” Waite noted. “The kids were looking forward to something besides being afraid of storms. Neighbors and hundreds of volunteers from Omaha came in and cleared our route, and we had one of the best parades ever, and a great carnival. It was wonderful; everyone had a gooi time.”
She added that she appreciates mygooi reaching out. Its CEO, Paul N. Greenwood, toured parts of the city with Michelle Kaiser, a Blair resident who won mygooi’s first gooikaraoke competition last month the night before Big Omaha, the Midwest’s premier entrepreneurial and innovation conference.
Greenwood said, “The damage is unreal. It looks like someone attacked buildings with sledge hammers. And we understand there are hundreds of senior citizens who are living on social security and can’t even meet the deductibles on their insurance to rebuild. We’re glad to help and hope others will, too.”
Waite added that volunteers have also come to Blair to help the elderly.
“Right after the storm,” Kaiser said, “there was debris everywhere. The city brought out snow plows to pick up glass, tree branches and other debris. The hail dented buildings and cars, smashed windows and left dozens of people with cuts and other injuries. The community is pulling together. There have been hundreds of volunteers coming to help, but it’s an overpowering job.”
Area crops were damaged severely, just when farmers were beginning to recover from the losses of 2012, and it’s too late for them to replant. This is likely to have an impact on operations at Cargill’s Blair corn milling plant, one of that company’s largest such operations. Cars have also been destroyed, including more than 4,000 at the number one Ford truck dealership in the country, which is located in Blair.