Serving through hardship: Missionaries look back on service in Flood of 72, pandemic

Brad Weber and his grandson, Jackson Weber, have many things in common - the latest being their service to the public during hard times, including the Flood of '72 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Nearly half a century ago, one of the deadliest floods in South Dakota ‘s history rushed through Rapid City.

“It was a storm like I had never seen before,” said Brad Weber, a former Missionary for The Church Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Thousands of homes were lost and hundreds were killed as the waters pressed through the city.

72 Flood Pkg

Stories of an entire intact houses carried downstream, all shared by people like Weber, who served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during that time.

“One man who was on his roof with a child and as he went by a tree, he stuck the child in the tree and then he floated on by and was never seen again,” Weber said.

Weber like many, helping pick up the pieces and help during the historic natural disaster.

“It was humbling for me,” Weber said. “It was a good experience to be able serve and to help where I could.”

Helping in a time that required true unity, regardless of religion.

“I know religions sometimes don’t get along, but I think in the case of this flood, nobody cared really what religion they were, they were just here to help each other,” Weber said.

As we remember the past, now 49 years later, we’re also reminded of present, even in some way a national disaster in itself – the COVID-19 Pandemic.

During the pandemic, Jackson Weber, Brad’s grandson, was slated to serve overseas in the Netherlands and Belgium.

As the pandemic did for many, plans changed, and Jackson was sent to serve here, where he’s of the fourth generation to do so.

“When my grandpa was here 50 years ago, just about, that he was here serving others,” Jackson Weber said. “He was here helping through crisis, he was helping people in need and it’s been a cool experience for me being here as well. Being able to help people who are also in need.”

A meaning in family serving through times of uneasiness, and turmoil.

“We’ve both kinda been here at times that there was a lot of uncertainty and there was a lot of I guess, chaos going on around us,” Jackson said.

“He’s always been such a wonderful part of our lives, we spent some time together doing things over the years and this is probably one of them that I’ll remember the most,” Brad Weber said.

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