Van Buren, MO principal: School likely out rest of year; gym heavily damaged

VAN BUREN, MO (KFVS) – Original Post

In Carter County, Missouri, residents of Van Buren were focused on cleaning up on Wednesday, May 3 after much of the town was under water.

Eddie Tipton, the principal of Van Buren High School, said they don’t expect to be back in session for the rest of the school year.

The school held its prom at the gym on Saturday but had to evacuate during the party because of the flood.

One high school senior said it’s hard to believe.

“Don’t take anything for granted,” senior Spencer Burnham said. “You know, don’t just…know your blessings and know that if you have people close to you, keep them close because they’re going to help you in times like this. Like our whole town has. Just keep your faith in God and hope that everything’s going to be ok.”

Principal Tipton said they usually have graduation in the gym but this year they’ll have to have it on the lawn.

The rest of the school did not suffer the same amount of damage. However, many people here have lost everything.

The Carter County Sheriff’s Department building wasn’t safe from the flood waters either and was heavily damaged.

Officials are working out of emergency units set up at Van Buren’s command center because the department was destroyed.

Water levels reached above the sheriff’s department building’s roof. Anything that was in the building is considered a total loss.

However, Sheriff Richard Stephens said he’s focused on helping those who have lost so much more.

“You get very emotional and I think all of the people, not only citizens, but all of the officers and firefighters and emergency responders are very emotional,” Sheriff Stephens said. “At times, just wanting to break down. Trying to work so hard to try to help people, to try to help the folks whether they, it’s safety reasons, or getting them food, getting them clothing, helping them clean up debris in the residences and that’s where we have to keep sight of our ultimate goal and that is to serve these people.”

Each room was damaged beyond repair, even the ceiling was saturated with flood water.

Sheriff Stephens said everything, it’s all just things and that it can all be replaced.

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