Even though we now live in Arizona, we still own our home in St. George, Utah.
Last Sunday we received an emergency call that the largest storm in over 100 years had pummeled across the red rock mountain side behind our home, dropping record breaking rain.
Within 45 minutes the dry desert had received 4 inches of water.
The average rainfall per year in St. George is 8 inches, and the earthen floor was unprepared for such a deluge.
Within minutes large washes of mud cascaded down the mountainside and into our back yard, filling our pool to overflow.
With the neighbor's call, Mr. Cactus was out the door and made the 6 hour drive back to Utah as quickly as he could.
Our kind brother Gary and his wife Lori immediately went over to the house and began draining the pool and mopping up water that had sloshed into the back of the house.
When Mr. Cactus arrived at 2:00 a.m. he was in for quite a sight.
By sunrise, members of our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) began arriving in droves.
Their kindness and generosity brought us to tears.
Many arrived with shovels and wheel barrels.
Men took off work for the day.
The women brought in food.
Children worked beside their parents without complaint.
By the time the water had drained all the way, we became more aware of exactly how much mud had filled the pool.
The shallow end had parts up to 3 1/2 feet.
The deep end that drops down 10 feet had a pile over 2 feet thick.
Friends and neighbors worked all day clear until the evening.
The deep end of the pool was the most difficult to clear.
The heavy mud was shoveled into buckets, that were in turn hoisted by ropes to the pool deck.
Our nephew Tanner may only be 12 years old, but he worked like a man all day long.
Once the buckets of mud reached the pool deck, others dumped the piles into wheel barrels and transferred the muck to the street in front of our house.
Within a few days the town of St. George came to collect the mud.
With a back hoe they scooped up enough mud to fill 2 dump trucks!
Our Bishop, Ralph Armstrong, and his counselors not only helped clean our yard, but the next day went down the street and helped other families clean out their pools.
These men have full time jobs and families, and yet donate many hours of service when ever where ever they are needed.
We cannot even express how grateful we are for all the kindness and immediate action that was shown to us.
When you read the news, and hear all the sad stories that take place in our world, remember there are good people who quietly go about doing good every day, with no recognition or accolades.
People who show up when needed, and make you feel like it's a pleasure to just be together.
Our deepest gratitude goes to Mr. Cactus' brother Gary, and our Sister In Law Lori, who were on the spot with in minutes, gave up sleep that first night, worked long hours, and check on our home constantly while we live out of state.
Little did they know that being related to us they would sign up for such a chore.
When words cannot even begin to express our appreciation, they immediately wave off any compliments and say "Oh, it's no problem at all. We haven't done much."
Thank you, thank you, thank you Gary and Lori (and Tanner!)
The good news is that the pool is now filled with clear, blue water.
A landscape crew has put the yard back in order.
We will need to replace some carpets inside the house, but because of Gary and Lori's fast action the rest of our home is fine.
And we hope to have a swim party like this one very soon, and invite all of our neighbors, friends and church members over as a BIG THANK YOU.