Saturday, October 2, 1999

By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
John Germaine of Pearlridge points to a Philadelphia Inquirer
story on Hurricane Floyd while relating how the hurricane
caused flooding that forced him and his wife Dolores to
evacuate their motel room.

Couple meets
Floyd, lives to
tell about it

The Germaines spent a month in Philadelphia when they were soaked by the hurricane

By Jaymes K. Song


John and Dolores "Dodee" Germaine went to Philadelphia to see Uncle Anthony, but they were rudely greeted by Floyd.

Hurricane Floyd on Sept. 15 dumped record rainfall on the visiting Pearlridge couple and flooded them out of their motel.

"It was a driving rain," said John Germaine, 79. "It was just like getting slapped with a wet towel."

They knew they were in for a "hairy" time when the pilot had to make three attempts before landing at Philadelphia International Airport. Their plane swayed from side to side as the pilot struggled to land in 45 mph winds.

The National Weather Service reported that 7 inches of rain fell that day, but the impact on the Germaines was even greater.

By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
Dolores Germaine and her husband were in Philadelphia
to visit a relative when Hurricane Floyd hit.

Their Econo Lodge motel was in a large gully near a flooded river, raising water levels to chest height.

The water was only "curb deep" when they checked into their motel at 6:30 p.m.

By 8:30 p.m. the water was past their knees.

Fire crews rescued the Germaines about an hour later. John walked out into the chest-deep waters with a suitcase in each hand and a bag of medicine on his head. The water was neck high for the 4-foot-11-inch Dodee.

"I don't panic," said John. "I've been in three wars."

His frail 83-year-old wife, who walks with a cane, was carried onto a boat by two firefighters.

"That was the first time I was on a boat in the middle of the street," Dodee said.

The scariest moment for John came when one of the firefighters tripped on a curb and Dodee was dunked in the water.

"I thought she was going to drown," John said.

Soaking wet, shivering, exhausted and famished, the Germaines spent the night on the floor of a high school gymnasium with about 200 other people.

They chomped on peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches supplied by the Red Cross, next to residents who had been evacuated from their homes.

"I was thinking about the warm sun in Hawaii," John said.

The next morning, they were taken by bus to the airport, and flew to Maine to stay with Dodee's sister.

"Oh yeah, we met Floyd," John said.

But they never got to see their 99-year-old Uncle Anthony.

When they returned to Honolulu this week, John kissed the ground as soon as he got off the plane.

"Everybody thought I was crazy," he said with a laugh. "But I'm saved. I'm alive."

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