Buzz Grover

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Written Memory

Text

Buzz Grover’s Story

Buzz Grover, of Hill City, can attest for every one of those inches. Buzz, who lived in Keystone at the time of the flood, remembers how dark the clouds were the night of the storm. By the time he and his construction crew had finished picking up their tools, the men were drenched.

Buzz went to bed at 7 P.M. that night, exhausted from a lack of sleep.

His wife, Kathy Hunsaker at the time woke him up only a few minutes later to tell him that Battle Creek was rising. Buzz reassured her that it was just a light spring storm.

The next thing he remembers is Kathy beating on his chest around 9 P.M. screaming “Wake up, wake up! Something is wrong!”

Buzz jumped up and flipped the light switch. Nothing happened. He made his way down the hallway of their moving trailer and opened the back door.

He will never forget what he saw next.

“The lightening was so intense; it was as if the sun was up. Then it would just be pitch black. I just stood there and saw this wall of water, much higher than our trailer house, about 20 feet away. I saw a propane tank riding the tops of the water. It must have been going about 100 mph.” Buzz said.

Buzz then noticed stucco cabins floating by him. Those cabins would later hit overturned pine trees and explode like dynamite.

In Buzz’s neighborhood, there were three trailers and one house, all owned by Buzz’s dad. Two trailers had already washed away.

Buzz’s trailer, once perpendicular to Battle Creek, was now parallel to the flow. Buzz watched his dad’s house, vacant at the time, rise and start to turn. Then it quickly disappeared. His wife at his side, Buzz heard his friends yell at him from about 60 feet away. From the shore, they screamed. “Swim for your lives.”

His wife, seven months pregnant, did not wait another second. She jumped into the water while Buzz was still removing his shoes.

Buzz immediately jumped in and placed his left arm under his wife’s pregnant belly.

Fighting the fierce current, he took one step. Deciding not to let the current suck him under, he began launching himself off the ground. Rising above the water, again and again Buzz managed to jump upstream toward shore. Only about 10 or 12 feet from his goal, Buzz took a step and found nothing there. He then remembered the location of the old root cellar. What happened next occurred out of pure adrenaline, he said. “I threw Kathy 15 feet onto the shore. The last thing I saw was people picking her up.” Continuing to move himself through the tormented waters, Buzz found himself trapped behind debris. It was difficult to move, but after considerable effort, he managed to break loose. Finally on shore, Buzz managed to help rescue three other people. One of them, March Watson, was clinging to her kitchen table, floating in six feet of water.

Although Kathy’s pregnant body suffered trauma, she gave birth to a baby girl named Heidi two months later.

Thinking back on it, Buzz can only think of one reason he is still here. “I truly believe the lord protected me. It’s by the grace of God that I made it, period. There is no other reason I should be here.”

Countless people tried to ensure the survival of those trapped and lost amidst the rushing water.


Collection

Citation

“Buzz Grover,” Flood of 1972, accessed May 15, 2021, https://1972flood.omeka.net/items/show/613.