Terry Holliman, former Hamburg mayor and owner of the local NAPA Auto Parts store, had plans on Saturday, March 16, to go to a play in Omaha.
Holliman said he decided to changed the plan when he heard that the Army Corps of Engineers would be giving city residents an update about potential flood waters headed toward Hamburg.
Before the day was out, Holliman had returned to the NAPA store and removed five truck loads. By 2:15 p.m. the following day, the NAPA store was empty.
And soon after that, Holliman said he was advised to leave the store as flood waters were getting close. A half hour after that, water was inside the store. The level of the water, once all of it had arrived, measured 12 feet of destruction.
Holliman said he could see the store from his home on higher ground and could only see the peak of the roof.
He says he wasn’t too concerned about losing the building.
Holliman has owned NAPA for 17 years. He moved from his original location just up the street to the current spot in 2009. The building, originally a state of Iowa liquor store, is a cement block building with a cement floor.
It could withstand a flood. And there was a lot to withstand.
The items that Holliman rescued from the building in the days before the flood were moved a second time when the first  “safe” location was also touched by the flood waters.
Where does this flood event rank? Holliman said it’s the worst of all.
“I didn’t tink water could go past the flag pole simply because of elevation,” Holliman said. “I expected three or four feet. I never dreamed 12.”
Holliman had heard big flood stories.
He knew of them, having grown up on nearby McKissick Island. Holliman said he heard his parents talk about the big flood of 1952.
“That was their big event,” Holliman said.
Now a new generation has a major flood story. And, as certain as the recovery was from 1952, another recovery will take place in Hamburg.
Holliman is already working on his recovery.
He remembers returning to the building after flood waters left to find 18 inches of mud.
It took a wheel barrel and five days of work to muck it all out.
That left him with a bare and empty store.
And he went to work to restore it.
That work continues. He doesn’t have a bathroom or a furnace or air conditioning. He expects to have heat in the store this winter but he also knows that the store isn’t as big of a deal as the homes lost in Hamburg.
“We are not as important as a home as far as I go,” Holliman said. “These people who lost their homes, I don’t know how they do it.”
All of Hamburg was effected, Holliman said.

Maybe in a way, that was a positive.
“I think to some degree, it’s pulled the community together,” Holliman said.
Hamburg residents know the fight isn’t over. Flood waters aren’t far away and Holliman said he would not be surprised to have flood waters return to his store in the spring.
As tough as recent months have been, however, Holliman said he feels confident the town can recover.
“Hamburg is very fortunate to have the jobs we have—and they’re good jobs,” Holliman said. “The potential is here.”
The NAPA business fits into the overall effort of what people are trying to accomplish in the small town by providing a service that, without it, people would only get by traveling to a bigger city.
A part from NAPA keeps a local resident working on a project rather than driving and losing that day of labor. It’s important. Holliman said every business in Hamburg has that same function. And, together they work as a team.
When facing the perils that Hamburg has witnessed—team, that’s not some slogan, that’s real life.

Bio Blast
Terry is a 1967 gradate of Hamburg High School. He served as a city council member for eight years and as mayor for eight years. He and his wife of 25 years, Barb, have three children: a son, Tad, and two daughters, Kim and Kelly.