Levee commissioners honored as Shawnee's Best
Each year, Shawnee’s Best honors are presented by the Shawnee School District No. 84 Board of Education.
The recognition salutes graduates of Shawnee High School in Wolf Lake for their achievements after high school.
Areas of achievement may include, but are not limited to, academics, athletics, health care, law enforcement, military service, business, social work, public service and other fields of endeavor.
The board of education recently announced that this year’s Shawnee’s Best recipients are 15 levee commissioners from the Big 5 levee districts in District 84’s communities.
The Shawnee’s Best recipients were recognized during the recent homecoming celebration at Shawnee High School in Wolf Lake.
The school district shared the following tribute to this year’s Shawnee’s Best:
1973, 1993, 1995, 2008, New Year’s 2016 and spring and summer 2019 may sound like just years on a calendar, but these dates are etched in the minds of people who live here.
The dates represent some of the worst flooding our area has seen in history.
And during these flood events, there are levee commissioners behind the scenes coordinating the effort to fight back the flood waters.
As levee commissioners in the bottoms, these 15 gentlemen do not have the luxury of having a job description to follow or only work one to two hours a day and then go home.
Their job description may read something like “doing whatever it takes as long as it takes to fight back the flood waters to save life, property, businesses, schools and communities.”
That’s what these 15 gentlemen have done for years living and working in the bottoms.
These 15 gentlemen represent the true definition of selflessness.
Time and time again they put the needs of their communities ahead of their own and, quite often, their families, when the water is high.
Their role as levee commissioners includes, but is not limited to:
Implementing sandbagging operations, implementing pump stations and overseeing those pumps 24/7, repairing sand boils and levee slides, managing locks, hauling ton after ton of sand and rock often using their own personal equipment, working closely with county emergency management agencies, IEMA and FEMA even when the river is at normal stages and working with local officials to know when to call for voluntary evacuations to keep community members safe.
The flood of 2019 was devastating to many in our communities.
People had to move out of their homes because they were flooded, businesses couldn’t operate, Route 3 was closed and people couldn’t get to work and unfortunately there was loss of life.
Through all of the devastation, these 15 levee commissioners worked around the clock trying their best to contain the flood waters.
Although some properties were not able to be saved, many were due in part to the efforts of these 15 gentlemen.
We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to them for their tireless efforts in battling the flood waters and trying diligently to keep our homes, businesses, schools and communities safe.
Clear Creek Levee District: Matthew Follis, Mitchel McLane and Jerry Schaefer.
Grand Tower Levee District: Todd Hileman, Shawn McMahan and John Schaefer.
McClure-East Cape Levee District: Heath Burger, Randy Colyer and Blake Gerard.
North Alexander Levee District: Joe Schneider, David Stevens and Charles Webb.
Preston Levee District: Randy Lambdin, David McMahan and Kent Treece.