As a University of Nebraska at Kearney employee, I had the pleasure of meeting many of the out-of-state travelers stranded in Kearney following the July 9 flood.

You might think staying in a campus residence hall without your vehicle — and in some cases your luggage and clothes — would ruin a vacation. However, everyone I met was in great spirits, making the most of an unfortunate situation.

They were thankful — very thankful.

I heard nothing but compliments about the hotel employees and first responders who helped them evacuate, nonprofit organizations that immediately provided aid, UNK staff who welcomed them to campus and folks who stopped by to drop off donations.

They were genuinely grateful.

Let me tell you, they all left Kearney with a newfound appreciation for this community and the people who live here. We all should be proud to call this great city home.

I know there’s a long road ahead for many area residents still recovering from the flood, but this certainly is something to smile about. Way to show the rest of the country what “Kearney Can Do.”

Tyler Ellyson, Kearney