One of Bartholomew County's prime emergency officials will spend the rest of the month sorting through a literal flood of memories before she ends her 10-year tenure in retirement.
That reminiscing for Mary Ellen Anable, executive director of the local American Red Cross, includes getting a call about flooding in Columbus the afternoon of June 7, 2008. She was busy that day in Brown County in the aftermath of June 3 significant tornado damage when she hurried to Columbus to begin directing volunteers to establish emergency shelters.
Nearly 1,000 Columbus residents were displaced — and Anable herself found she was trapped late afternoon that Saturday by floodwaters that lapped within five feet of her eastside Columbus office door. She made it to an emergency shelter at Columbus East High School late at night — only to find that building flooding. About 400 residents were forced to move overnight to another facility.
She made it home at 4 a.m. Monday for rest and a shower — with no complaints after more than 40 straight hours of work.
"I try to look at challenges as opportunities," Anable said.
For more on this story, see Friday's Republic.