Flood victim's family remembers him 10 years later - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Flood victim's family remembers him 10 years later

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Jerry Lorenz, 37, was one of seven flash flood victims in August 2007. Jerry Lorenz, 37, was one of seven flash flood victims in August 2007.
Lorenz's family throw flowers from the bridge where he was swept away ten years ago. Lorenz's family throw flowers from the bridge where he was swept away ten years ago.
Dominik Whetstone prepares to throw his flowers into the Lewiston Creek. Dominik Whetstone prepares to throw his flowers into the Lewiston Creek.
LEWISTON, Minn. (KTTC) -- -

Seven people died the weekend of August 18th, 2007 in what is considered one of the worst flash floods in Minnesota history. 

Jerry Lorenz, John and Shirley Micheel, Joyce and Victor Gensmer, David Ask, and David Blackburn were the seven victims.

One decade later, the victim's families still remember the night they received the devastating news.  

"I got a phone call from a family member saying to come quick, we can't find Jerry but we found his car. The tears started falling right down my face," said Aime Kruger, Jerry's cousin.

She had a gut feeling something bad happened to her cousin. "I prayed to God something didn't happen to him."

Unfortunately, search and rescue crews found Jerry's car the next day. It would take several more days until they found his body. "They were astonished when they found him because they walked by that place many times." Jerry's body was found entangled inside downed trees and debris near the creek, about two miles downstream from where his car was found.

Jerry was 37-years-old when he passed away. According to his family, he left a party around 3 a.m. when he went to a creek near Enterprise Rest Area in Lewiston. No one is certain why he went to the creek that night, but Aime has an idea.

She believes Jerry went to the creek that night because it was his favorite spot. "He probably just parked his car to look how high the water was, to see where his beloved creek was to find it was more like a raging river."

A fitting place, the family said, for his final resting place. "At least everyone knows where his happy spot is," said his cousin, Dominik Whetstone.

To honor Jerry's memory, his family comes to the creek where he was killed that August night ten years ago. They meet at the bridge over the creek and throw flowers into the water, hoping they'll float downstream to where his body was found.

They also say a prayer, telling God they hope and pray that Jerry's watching over them from above. "He went back to God and his resting place."

Friends and family even raised money to place a memorial marker next to the river. The marker isn't just for Jerry, but for all seven flood victims. It's located on the Gail and Ruth Ann Rasmussen Family Farm, family friends of Jerry's family. Anyone is welcome to visit the marker and pay their respects. 

In addition, the family planted seven maple trees along the creek -- one for each victim. 

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