When the waters rose in Gowanda

It was just five years ago when the Gowanda area experienced a damaging flood. Tri-County Hospital was one of the casualties. Because of the nature of this topic, I decided to put this week’s column in an 11-verse poetic format.


by Robert L. Heichberger

It was just five years ago and still counting

August 9 and 10, ’09 is firmly in mind.

The memory has a way of living within us

there is no way to leave the memory behind.

It was between dusk and the next morning sunlight

when all was quiet and still,

On a warm Sunday evening in Gowanda area

things changed with a thundering chill.

Dark clouds moved in with a fury

and lightning raced across the night-time sky;

As rain pounded down on the surface

and the winds were furiously high.

The brook waters rose with all swiftness

the creek banks could contain them no more …

And the flood moved in unmercifully

startling the people right to their core.

Many houses and businesses were affected

and damaged property was left in its wake.

Floating debris came rushing in torrents

and low spots appeared as a lake.

Tri-County Hospital stood the rage of the waters

but the onslaught found a way to its core.

And the Hospital lost its battle with nature

And so Tri-County Hospital we knew … is no more.

The Hospital left a valiant legacy of services

a quality health facility was its fame.

The service was there for all ages

the best in health care was always its aim.

And now, in its place as remediation

Gowanda Urgent Care and Medical Center is doing its part

To render quality health service for its people

with a staff giving so generously from their heart!

Patients come from Tri- County and even further

From farms, towns, Seneca Nation, and Amish Trail

All are in need of access to a full health care facility

On a twenty-four hour, seven day scale.

A broad geographical region of hopeful people,

with a feeling of critical stress …

So desperately are in need of available access

to a hospital and an emergency room, and no less.

We ask those in charge to move thoughtfully

and plan well for the long term to assure …

that the health care provided for all … will continue

and the health services provided are uniquely secure.

Dr. Robert L. Heichberger is professor emeritus at the State University of New York at Fredonia and distinguished professor at Capella University. He is an award winning author. All of the past columns can be viewed on Send comments to: