Director of Campus Computing Takes in Flood Victims

When the torrential flood waters of 2008 began to swallow up homes and businesses along Ellis Boulevard, Connie Snitker felt a particular sadness as she watched the devastation on the news.

Snitker, Mount Mercy’s director of campus computing, lived in that area for 26 years before moving to a different home in Cedar Rapids five years ago. Many of her friends still live there, so seeing the neighborhood under water was a painful experience. “A lot of my friends had just moved things to a higher location, thinking that would be good enough, and of course it wasn’t,” says Snitker. “When you saw the patrol boats driving past, you were just shocked.”

Snitker and her family opened their doors to those who had lost their homes in the flood. Her teenage son’s best friend lost his home to the raging waters, which filled his basement and first story with dirty flood water. He lived for a time with Snitker and her family as he waited for news on whether his family will get to rebuild their home. Another teenager who lost his home stays during weekends to escape his family’s cramped living conditions in a temporary trailer home.

Snitker says her son has been impacted by his friend’s circumstances. “He has normal, everyday complaints about things — like his cell phone not working — but then he looks over at his best friend who has only two bags of possessions left and it really hits him,” says Snitker.

Because they had lived so long in the area, Snitker and her husband, Jerry, feel a certain degree of guilt because they moved just a few years before the flood. “You feel so fortunate, yet guilty at the same time,” she says. “I drove by those houses a million times. It just breaks my heart.” Snitker now watches from the sidelines as her friends go through emotions of frustration and loss, waiting to see what the future will bring. “They’re playing the waiting game,” says Snitker. “But they are determined to band together.”