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Staff is overcoming challenge of storm damage

Few phone calls you might receive at 12:30 a.m. could be labeled as “good.”

The one I received more than a week ago, was far from being a good phone call.

Sitting in my office on the evening of Saturday, April 29, finishing the Sunday, April 30, edition, I remember looking outside and seeing the American Flag outside completely starched.

The wind had been howling for hours and was simply an appetizer to the severity of the weather we all saw and experienced later Sunday morning.

After heading home and going to bed, my phone rang shortly after midnight. It was a member of our mailroom who told me part of the flashing from The Post’s roof had flown off and landed in the parking lot.

We could do nothing about it at the moment.

I went back to bed, back to sleep. But, I did not sleep peacefully. I knew the storm was coming, and now I had word our roof might be failing.

A few hours later, I received another call, this one confirming what I had feared.

The call, from long-time Post employee Stacy Hartley, detailed just how much water had come in the office and was still coming in. In fact, the rain was still coming. It was only going to get worse.

She texted me pictures of some of the damage, some of the office space now covered with debris from falling ceiling tiles and the inches of water stretching through most of our newspaper’s business and circulation departments. My office, too, was flooded.

The news from our building maintenance manager Bobby Childers was not any better.

After the worst of the storm had passed, I put on my rain jacket and headed to the office.

On the way, I made a few phone calls, one of which was to our local Servpro franchise. From what I had seen in the pictures sent to me by text, I had an idea we were going to need their help.

After arriving at the office, I determined the pictures in no way did the damage justice.

In short, it was a mess, a big mess.

Over the next few hours, Servpro arrived, and I was already talking to our insurance agents.

When Monday arrived, we went about the business of moving employees who worked in those affected areas to other areas of the newspaper. Regardless of the condition, we still had a newspaper to publish and a business to run.

Over the next week, Servpro has continued their cleanup. Floors have been ripped out, walls opened up, ceiling tiles removed and multiple roll-off dumpsters filled and hauled off. McDaniel Construction has temporarily patched our roof and the insurance company is working through all the details.

Some sense of normalcy has returned over the past week. The newspaper has continued to be published and employees are getting somewhat comfortable.

Over the next few months, work will continue and affected areas of the building restored.

I am thankful for the quick response from our business partners, Servpro and McDaniel Construction, who came to our aid so quickly.

But, more than that, I continue to be impressed with the professionalism of our staff at The Post as we all work through this challenge.

In the end, the phone call did not bring good news, but a silver lining existed.

Through the storm and the aftermath, no one was hurt and those things that were damaged can be replaced.

A little water is not going to slow down these folks.

Tim Reeves is publisher of The Post. He can be reached at tim.reeves@vicksburgpost.com.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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