RAPID CITY, S.D. - On June 9, 1972, Rapid City experienced a devastating flood that caused widespread destruction throughout the growing town. Don Barnett, who served as the mayor from 1971 to 1975, faced the daunting task of leading the city's recovery efforts after the natural disaster struck.

Barnett's dedicated efforts and leadership during the challenging period were recently recognized when he was honored as a Melvin Jones Fellow. This distinction acknowledges his donation to the Lions Club International Foundation, the same organization that provided Rapid City with its first-ever disaster relief grant following the destructive flood.

Reflecting on the aftermath of the flood, Barnett recalled the immense challenges the city faced, "Our water plant was out of business for a week. The sewer plant got inundated with floodwaters and we had all sorts of broken water mains. We had seven bridges that had been knocked out. It was a team effort. First of all, I didn't have all the wisdom in the world. I was young, but we had one of the most wonderful city councilmen. Ten men and women served on the council, and they were the reason the city survived."

Since the initial disaster relief grant in 1972, the Lions Club International Foundation has continued its commitment to providing support in times of crisis. With over $1.2 billion awarded in disaster relief grants, the foundation has made a significant impact in assisting communities worldwide.


Meteorologist/Multimedia Journalist

In 2022 Joey graduated with a M.S. in Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, and a few months later, he got a job with NewsCenter1.