KEARNEY — They were stranded, but they were still singing.
The Faithful Men, a quartet from West Coast Baptist College in Lancaster, Calif., gave a free concert Tuesday evening for out-of-towners stranded by the flood. The concert took place at a small lounge on the first floor of the Nebraskan Student Union at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, near the residence halls where guests who had to evacuate hotels Tuesday were housed.
The Faithful Men were stranded, too.
“We’re trying to be a help and give encouragement to the people who are stranded,” said Justin Engleman, the group’s emcee and driver.
The four-man group is in the ninth week of its 12-week tour across the country. They performed Monday in Junction City, Kan., then drove to the Hampton Inn here for the night. They were supposed to sing in Scottsbluff Tuesday night, but they had to leave their car and luggage behind when they were evacuated from the Hampton.
On Tuesday afternoon, Engleman said someone from Scottsbluff may pick up the group in Kearney today and take them to Scottsbluff to perform. Someone then would bring them back to Kearney when floodwaters recede so they can get their car and their luggage and continue their tour, which continues through early August.
The group was among 250 guests from Kearney hotels who had to be evacuated Tuesday morning.
Some were first transported to The Salvation Army, where they were fed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, green beans, popcorn and doughnuts. From there they were bused to empty UNK dorms to spend the night.
They were fed a ham dinner provided by Hot Meals U.S.A., the nonprofit founded by Kearney resident Dick Cochran that serves food to people in emergencies. Volunteers cooked breakfast for the guests this morning.
Following The Faithful Men concert at 7:30 p.m. Sherry Morrow, chairman of the board at The Salvation Army, set up free bingo games for the guests. Tropical Sno set up three trucks at 8:30 p.m. to provide free treats.
Morrow said RYDE provided free transportation to Walmart between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to allow stranded guests to purchase pajamas, toothpaste and other essentials they had to leave behind.
In other flood-related news, Morrow said West Villa Animal Hospital, 2518 W. 24th St., donated litter boxes and litter for cat owners who were forced to leave their homes with their cats.
Hilltop Pet Clinic took in seven evacuated pets from the flooded Riverside Hospital, 322 Central Ave., according to Shelley Groothuis, the Hilltop Clinic office manager.
Also, CHI Health Good Samaritan sustained “very minimal” flood damage, according to Anissa Paitz, the hospital’s public relations strategist. Affected areas included the West Tower waiting area, the back hall of the Medical Office Building, and the seating area in the Dining Center. Water seeped under doors and saturated the carpet.
The damage was being addressed early Tuesday afternoon, Paitz said. “Our patients and patient services were not affected by the rainfall. We are operating as normal,” she said.
Despite a flooded parking lot, Kearney Regional Medical Center, 804 W. 22nd Ave., also operated normally Tuesday, according to Amanda Polacek, director of marketing,