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Rapid City Flood: A Survivor's Story

June 8, 2012, 6:00 PM by Peggy Moyer

Rapid City Flood: A Survivor's Story
Wayne Langland

SIOUX FALLS, SD -

A survivor of the Rapid City flood remembers the rain and flood waters that washed his business away 40 years ago.

And now, you might find Wayne Langland parking your car because he works part-time for Sanford valet services.

He says he's not the type to sit still during retirement, but when we mention the Rapid City flood, Langland remembers back to when he was just 33 years old, running a carpet business and trying to finish a job before he went home that night.

"It was so dark, you could hardly see anything with all the flashing of lightning and all this water coming down until the next morning when it started getting daylight," Langland said.

Langland didn't think his business would be flooded because it was 20 feet above Rapid Creek. So that next morning he went to the west side of town where he thought his services could be used the most. After a few hours, Langland says he decided to check on his own business and that's when he found it had been wiped out by the flood waters too.

"One of the trailers ended up at the Ford dealership and one between two telephone poles," Langland said.

Langland says he was young and full of energy so he decided to rebuild and make a go of it again. He remembers many others rebuilt too, but not everyone. The devastation was too much for some businesses.

Now, Langland revisits Rapid City often and says it's hard to believe how far the community has come.

"You hate to say it's for the better, but really, it's a beautiful city and one to be proud of," Langland said.

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