By Debbie Dakin
The recent flood that caused so much havoc pretty much across the state of Missouri devastated an area business and even forced the owner and his son-in-law to be rescued by a friend.
Ozarks Resale Center, owned by Mike and Kimberly Brannan, had relocated to Houston after being in the Friendly Village Shopping Center in Licking. They needed a larger location and couldn’t find an available building here in Licking.
Mike and his family had worked hard cleaning and laying out the building into a very attractive business. The store specialized in selling new overstocked items and gently used items for remodeling and building new homes. Some of the items offered included light fixtures, windows, doors, tubs, toilets, sinks, countertops, vanities and more.
When the heavy rains started, Mike became concerned about flooding and he and two sons went to Ozarks Resale to try and protect the store and its contents to the best of their ability.
“My wife was gone to Arkansas to a funeral, so my two boys and I spent the night at the store,” said Brannan. “We stacked as much as we could and I kept getting up about every hour and checking on the water. At 7 a.m. the water was only about a foot from cresting the creek in the back. I knew the water was going to go over and I felt my two sons, ages 8 and 9, should not be there in that line of danger. I took them to my daughter and son-in-law’s home so they would be safe.”
Mike stated that he was gone about 40 minutes to take his sons out of harm’s way. His son-in-law, Matt returned with him. By this time water was up to the building. Mike and Matt decided to try and stack some more, even though Mike and his sons had stacked so much Friday night.
“We had been working about 30 minutes when a friend called me,” explained Mike. “He had seen my truck parked outside and was worried. He said, “Where are you? We need to get you out of there.”
Mike and Matt had already put plywood over the glass doors trying to keep floating debris from breaking them. They had several sandbags placed trying to keep out water but about two inches of water already covered the floor. They couldn’t get out the front so they headed for the back door. When they stepped outside the water was knee deep on the two men.
“We were fine while we were still behind the building,” Brannan said. “But the minute we tried to step away from the building the water was so swift I knew we were in danger. I had some life jackets inside and we went back to get a couple to put on. These were sized for teens and weren’t the best fit, we couldn’t buckle them but they were better than nothing,” laughed Brannan.
Mike and Matt went back out into the swirling water where Mike’s friend, Dave was waiting at a safe distance. The force of the water was so strong the men knew they needed help. Dave had a long tow strap in his vehicle and threw an end to Mike who held on higher up and passed the end to his son-in-law. Dave towed them to safety.
The following day Mike had an appointment in Springfield that he had to keep. His father went with him and they headed out. His son-in-law, Matt, and his daughter and two sons made their way back to Ozark Resale Shop. Matt was on the phone with Mike when he surprisingly exclaimed, there goes the propane tank! Their 500-gallon tank, almost completely full of propane, was floating away. Shortly after, large debris hit the building and tore out the back wall. And they had to sadly watch many items float away and were powerless to stop it from happening.
That night Mike and his dad could not get home because of high water and the roads being closed. His daughter, son-in-law and 2 young sons were also unable to get home because of high water and spent the night at Rascalz, located on Grand Avenue in Houston. His wife couldn’t get home from Arkansas because of high water, but at least they all were safe.
The next day Brannan and his family made it to Ozarks Resale Shop to survey the damage. The only way in was through the back, and they had to climb over 6 to 7 feet high debris to get there. They were met with a sad sight. Many items had floated away and were down-river somewhere. Some appliances were twisted and mangled and glass-topped tables were muddy, yet unbroken or damaged.
“The things we lost were mostly what was along that back wall that got ripped out,” Brannan pointed out. “Those things were either already sold and waiting for customers to pick them up, or were items for Rascalz. We lost a lot of stuff for Rascalz – pool tables, lights, sofas, chairs, end tables and a big freezer. I was so discouraged. It was like a double whammy. I no longer had a business or a job, and the loss of items for Rascalz was a huge set back. I seriously thought about quitting.”
Brannan posted on Facebook and asked for volunteers to help clean up the mess and see what could be salvaged. He was hoping for a dozen or so to brave the mud and offer assistance. The word spread and Mike found out just how many people care about him and admire the kind of services he brings to the community. People came and just kept coming. So many showed up that they were finished well before noon. And workers didn’t go away hungry. One lady brought hotdogs and chips, another a large pot of chili, McDonalds of Houston donated 100 hamburgers, and employees of Landmark Bank in Houston donated funds to purchase lots of sandwiches from Subway.
“I was amazed,” said Brannan. “I never dreamed we would get that kind of turnout. Some showed up after we were all done and before the day was over, we had well over 100 people show up. After seeing this kind of support, I knew I had to reopen the business. I like to follow through with my commitments and after we get Rascalz open, I hope within two months after that I can get Ozarks Resale Shop back up and running.”
Mike notified all of his customers who had lost items already sold. He offered to either replace the item or refund the money. To his amazement every single customer told him not to worry about it and consider their loss as a donation. Once again, Mike’s faith was bolstered.
Friends urged him to start a Go Fund Me account, but Mike wasn’t comfortable with that. He is holding a recovery auction on May 21, beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the Ozark Resale building, corner of Hwy B and 63 in Houston. He has over 1,500 items to bid on. All proceeds will help him rebuild the business. But after encouragement from many, a fund has been set up at Landmark Bank in Houston. Interested donors may contribute to the Ozarks Resale Center Recovery Fund.
Mike and his family are strong faith-based individuals. He and wife Kimberly have six children, two of whom are adopted. They have fostered 38 children and even served two years as missionaries in a small village in Sierra Leone, West Africa, living without electricity or running water.
Rascalz is one of Mike and Kimberly’s dreams. They feel there is a huge need for this type of place and even after the setback of losing Ozarks Resale Center, they are not backing away from their commitment. Rascalz will be open Friday and Saturday night with good, safe, clean fun for kids ages 12 to 18. Some of the cool activities include a dance floor with a D.J., karaoke, air hockey, pool, X-Box, and much more. An open house will be held June 9 and 10 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Parents as well as kids are welcome to come and check out Rascalz. Those attending those nights can apply for free membership. Rascalz will then open June 16 and 17. Mike has a great need for adult volunteers to help at Rascalz.
If you would like to offer assistance to Ozarks Resale Center, wish to volunteer at Rascalz, or have any questions, call Mike at 417-217-4287. A great way to help is by attending the May 21st auction.
And many of us are giving thanks that Mike and his son-in-law were rescued safely.