Damage from this summer’s flooding in Iowa extended all the way to Oregon State.
Eric Stoller, an academic advisor at OSU, is from Columbus Junction, Iowa; a town of about 2,000 people that was besieged by water in June when the Iowa and Cedar Rivers overran their banks.
“The only way I could do something to help was to put information up on my blog,” Stoller said.
The transplanted Iowan is quite tech savvy. In a previous job, he worked as a Web consultant and he also built the OSU Admissions department’s blog. He started his personal blog in 2004, mostly as a way to publish his academic work and social justice views. In June, Stoller began posting flood photos and links to Southeast Iowa flooding news stories. The results were overwhelming.
“I had about 20,000 unique visits in June alone,” Stoller said. “People I never thought in a million years would find (my Web site) are reading it and calling my parents and asking, ‘Is that your Eric Stoller who does the blog?’”
Stoller used to work at the grocery store in Columbus Junction and remains closely tied to the area.
“Close your eyes and put your finger on the map [of Southeast Iowa] and I could tell you about someone hit hard by (this summer’s) flood,” he said. “Friends, classmates, family members…I saw my high school English teacher on TV. Some of my high school classmates, who also live out of state, have thanked me for the coverage.”
Stoller said that he has learned a lot from this experience, and it has changed him in some ways.
“I learned that the suffering hits a wide path,” he said. “I saw a news story about a farmer who was going to lose almost all of his pigs because of the flooding. People might think that’s not a big deal because they’re going to be slaughtered anyway, but it’s different. They are this man’s livelihood.”
Stoller’s blog can be found at http://ericstoller.com.