Dean Wathke at Coulee Refrigeration in the town of Leon remembers the historic flooding a year ago, like it was yesterday.
“It was a mess, a big mess. We lost a lot of our inventories, furnaces and everything. And what I remember most about, unbelievable, it picked up our wood stoves and carried them downstream. That’s what I remember the most, that was unbelievable they were about half a mile down the road,” said Wathke.
For a quarter century, Wathke has worked at the business off Highway 27, and that August storm is one that left its mark.
Residents say on the main road, at this point last year, water was up to their knees, and over the past 365 days it’s been a slow rebuild.
“We talk about it a lot, we’re looking for some parts in the back room that used to be there and we go back there and they’re not there anymore. Obviously we had some parts for back up stuff and it’s gone cause we lost it in the flood. We still discuss and talk about it yes, it’s brought up now and then,” said Wathke.
While people who were hit hard say they’re not at 100 percent yet, they have made a lot of strides thanks to the generosity of others.
“We had a lot of good help. We did have a lot of outside help, we had a lot of support in the community,” says Wathke. “The ones that didn’t get affected by the flood, they were here to support us and they helped us out with cleaning materials, that was really nice of them.”
While he says the severe storms that hit southwestern Wisconsin in July gave the town a scare, luckily no significant damage was reported and now they continued to work to build Leon back up.
“What’s in the future? Keep looking forward and keep going I guess. Be positive about things,” said Wathke.