Historical archive Covering the May 12, 2000 "St. Nazianz Storm" and Recovery  

About This Web Site

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Photo by Matt Marton/HTR
Well, many visitors have been asking, "where'd that web site come from?", and "why is someone making us a web page for some storm"? 

It all started hearing the local sirens go off as First Responder Units were called to assist at St. Nazianz, from our equally small little Village of Cleveland. That was followed by a day of volunteer work heading up a chainsaw crew, working security, and doing anything I could see that would be helpful.  A digital camera at my side, I snapped a lot of pics, thinking I would e-mail them to a few friends.  As the day went along, I realized this was more to me, and to everyone involved in any way, than a few pictures to share.  This was the hearts of people over a huge area, showing their losses and their stamina.
By the time I got home, and then to my office, I had decided the best way to share the experience wasn't by sending out a few pics, but rather by creating a website.  A web site would allow some commentary and let locals as well as distant contacts see what had affected all of us.  At 10PM I published the first pics and info, and then emailed a few friends to tell them it was available.  By midnight it had 150 hits.
Sunday things settled in more, if 'settle in' is a way to say it.  I had to do more....  Monday noon I received approval from the acting supervisor for the county emergency response team to be the 'Official Web Site', that meant I would have to separate the unofficial from the official, and would be funneled all press releases, announcements, and status reports.  They had to be published as quickly as possible, from a command center that didn't have an Internet connection, from an area with no phone lines working.  I opted to drive back and forth the 15 miles to my office which wasn't hit by the storm.  As I worked to rebuild it and add the new information, the Command Center was having a media meeting, and among other things gave the name of the official site to the press.  At 2pm it started to appear on TV, and the name "saintnazianz.homepage.com" was bannered for much of the evening news.
I've been in the computer and software design business for many years.  Only once did I remember having to work under such time pressure, that was when..... oh it doesn't matter.... I got that going.... and I got this web site running smoothly.  In it's first 5 days of operation I spent about 80 hours on it, while trying to continue with my regular business.  In the first week of 'public' access it received 3100 visits from people wanting to learn, see, or understand.
So why would anyone want to do all this as a volunteer?  First of all my efforts seemed minor next to those of everyone that was hit, and compared to all the emergency staff, contractors, and other volunteers.  Secondly tho, I felt the people of the area needed a tool to reinforce their own sense of community, and that it would be a good way for all of us to start to heal.  The wounds and trauma are deep, it will take time, and it will take sharing to recover.  Hopefully this site in its own way assists with that.
Several have said "well the people who lost their homes aren't on the computer anyway".  True in the beginning, but remember most people went to stay with family or friends, many of whom were on-line and looking for news.  Since then I've received notes from relatives of St. Nazianz residents in England and all across this country who have seen the pics and can now be fully supportive of those damaged and working on recovery.  I would appreciate hearing where you're from, and either why or how you found the information helpful.
It has been a complete pleasure to offer this service and to assist in my own ways.
So.... as a systems analyst, now I am putting together what's needed in a concept plan and equipment to let myself and co-workers move to disasters anywhere in the US, providing fail-proof Internet based relief solutions for governmental organizations, non-profits, and emergency response teams.  If you are such a group, we are now accepting applications for retainer contracts that could assure our fast and effective response to your future disaster.... it's just a matter of time you know.  Proper advance planning combined with a dynamic web site with e-communication is the most effective and affordable approach available for widespread information dispersal.
I hope you've found this web site helpful, I'd like to hear your ideas and insights, and I hope to hear from you!  
Chris Kuehnel
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Click on pic at top of page to review the informative Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter article about this site published June 5, 2000
Please tell your friends and contacts about our new address (URL) which we began utilizing January5, 2004.  
The webmaster can not provide answers to any questions about emergency operations, 
those should be submitted to Manitowoc County Emergency Management at 920-683-4207. 
If you have photos or articles to submit, or comments about this web site, please e-mail them to the webmaster
fax to 920-693-8772, or bring them to the St. Nazianz Command Center.  

Pages within this site were last updated 05/26/2001 at 11:10 AM.  All information copyright 2000-2004, all rights reserved.