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Waterloo Village
Omaha, Nebraska

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  I just — I never fail to be inspired at moments like this.  The way communities come together and people volunteer to put themselves in harm’s way to help others.  And seeing the way Brad, who volunteered this airboat, and his wife, Mary, working so closely with the Waterloo fire department in a coordinated way — it’s just the best of America.  I mean, this is — it shows the “heart” in Heartland when hard times strike.  It shows the character and the compassion of our communities.

Brad, I just want to thank you.  I want to thank you and Mary for just being there, to be with these first responders, and come alongside these families.

And I want to congratulate you, Chief, and your whole team.  You undoubtedly saved lives.  As the water rose and beat against the houses, no lives were lost in your area, and it was because of the swift response of the fire department, the National Guard, but also Brad and his family here being willing to come out and be there.

And it’s just very inspiring to me.  And, Brad, I just wanted to thank you.  Thank you for stepping forward.

BRAD BROWN:  It was honor.  We would do it again.  It was actually rewarding.  These guys — I never — I drove by the fire department all the time and seen them, but I now I get to hang out with them.  I’ve got a hat on, here. (Laughter.)  So these guys do the work.  They just pointed me which way to go, so it made it easy.

CHIEF HARLOW:  I gave him a shirt, too.

BRAD BROWN:  Yeah, I got a shirt (inaudible).  (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  You’ve earned it.  Chief?

CHIEF HARLOW:  Yeah, it’s definitely been a group effort.  I can’t say Waterloo can take all the credit for all this.  The Incident Command System has been put in place, and it worked very well.  It was well organized and we’ve had a lot of our mutual aid departments that have helped us not only from a local area, but from the city, and on a state level as well — with our US&R team and the National Guard.

You know, we can’t thank anybody enough for all the help that they have helped us, and we appreciate it.  Like you said, there were no major injuries and no lives lost in our territory.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, it’s an incredible record, and it’s a community response.  And as Governor and Senator Sasse and I were traveling here, I spoke to the Administrator at FEMA.  They did receive Nebraska’s emergency declaration a little bit more than hour ago.  They’re working to expedite that.

And I want to assure you, Chief, Brad — as I have the governor and your senator: Help is on the way.  But I want you to know, the President and I understand that you all have been doing the hard work, but we’re going to make sure that the resources that the American people have made available for states and communities at times like this are available here in Nebraska.

So God bless you for what you’ve done — you and all your courageous men, and Brad and Mary.

BRAD BROWN:  Thanks for coming and seeing what’s going on here.  That’s impressive.  So it helps a lot.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, we’re inspired.  We really are.  Great job.