Home / US / Nebraska farmer who, however, tried to save a stranger from floodwaters is hailed as a hero

Nebraska farmer who, however, tried to save a stranger from floodwaters is hailed as a hero

[Facebook via Jodi L. Hefti]

James Wilke was one of the best men she has ever known, family member Jodi L. Hefti wrote on Facebook on Friday.

"Not all heroes carry bags or uniforms," ​​wrote Hefti. "I know a TRUE HERO that had a T-shirt, blue jeans, work clothes and ran a John Deer Tractor."

Wilke, 50, a Nebraska farmer, was killed on Thursday while trying to rescue a stranger from river waters that destroyed Eastern Nebraska, Western Iowa and other parts of the Midwest this week.


On Thursday, Wilke, Columbus, Neb., Received a phone call asking him to help emergency services rescue a driver caught by floods , Hefti wrote. Then Wilke climbed on his tractor and went down the road.

"He was always the first to help anyone," said his cousin Paul Wilke to Omaha World-Herald. "He was a person who would not just talk about doing things better. He would do it."

"He was always the first to help someone. He was a person who would not just talk about doing things better. "He would do it."

– Paul Wilke, cousin of James Wilke

According to Hefti, Emergency Officers led Wilke over a bridge on Monastery Road, but the bridge issued. Wilke and his tractor entered the water.

Wilke's body was later restored along the creek near their home, Hefti wrote.

"Those who know James know it was his way of telling his wife, family and friends farewell and that he is" home, "says Hefti.


Wilke's death is the only one attributed to the flood so far, Omaha's KMTV television reported.

The historic flood, which has followed great rain and melting snow in Nebraska, urged Gov. Pete Ricketts to explain an emergency Tuesday. The move will help the state in access to relief agents and other resources.

"This is probably the most widespread flood damage we've had in the last half," Ricketts said at a press conference on Friday.

"This is probably the most widespread flood damage we've had in the past half."

– Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts

On Friday, President Trump spoke that he had spoken to Gov. Ricketts.

"The people in Nebraska and across the Midwest, especially the peasants and ranchers, are aware of the effects of severe weather," wrote the president. "The first respondents and emergency groups have done a good job of dealing with floods, high winds and roads."

Ricketts reviewed the floods Friday and shared photos of the damage on social media. [19659005] The governor also directed the Nebraska State Patrol to temporarily waive the requirement of length and weight for trucks traveling in and through Nebraska in support of the efforts against the severe flood, according to a press release from Rickett's office.

"This will help move materials more efficiently around the state when we work together to respond to the floods and the severe weather," says Ricketts in the release.

"Unusual event" at nuclear power [19659025] plant

The swollen Missouri River also threatened the Cooper nuclear power plant in southeastern Nebraska, declared the flood an "unusual event" on Friday, Nebraska Public Power District said it was likely that the plant, about 59 miles south of Omaha, would be closed early on Saturday

Nevertheless, officials were convinced that the flood around the plant did not pose a danger to the public, said Land Becker spokesman.

An "unusual event message" is the lowest emergency rating recognized by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Omahas KIOS -FM radio was reported.

In addition to Nebraska and Iowa, severe floods were also hit by South Da Kota and Minnesota.

The US Coast Guard closed down all traffic on the Missouri River from about 50 miles south of Omaha, Neb., downstream to St Joseph, Mo., on Friday, a stretch of about 70 miles.

Officials in eastern Nebraska said more than 2,600 people living along Missouri, the Platte and Elkhorn rivers there had been urged to evacuate, as water breaks into islands in several rural areas.

Rising water on the Missouri River also led Iowa officials on Friday to shut off much of Interstate 29 from the Missouri State Line north about 85 miles to around Missouri Valley, Iowa.


The closure is reminiscent of historic flooding along the River 2011 which saw segments of interstate in western Iowa washed away. Friday officials said the river is expected to be well below what was seen in 2011.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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