FREMONT -- To look at the photos, you’d think Justin Cash was on a hike through rugged terrain on some wilderness trek.

And, in a way, he was.

But the Fremont man wasn’t taking a high-adventure survivalist trip.

He was heading out to get groceries for his family on Sunday after floodwaters washed out a large portion of the lane leading to the family's lakeside home.

Cash and his wife, Ashley, and their children, Austin, 11, and Haley, 6, live with their pets in a home at Olmstead Lake, just north of the Platte River. Ashley’s father, Mike Olmstead, lives in a house near the Cash family on the lake.

Recent rain and rapidly melting snow has caused the Platte and other area rivers to rise. A levee on the west side of Ridge Road breached about midnight on Friday, sending water into Inglewood and the south part of Fremont.

On Thursday, floodwaters already had washed out part of the dirt lane leading to the Cash house.

Family members continued to monitor the situation.

“We’ve lived by the river our whole lives. We thought we would wait — day by day — to see if the water receded like we normally do, because we’re up very high,” Ashley Cash said.

On Saturday, Justin Cash tried to leave his property on a 4-wheeler, driving on the high side of the lane.

The water was flowing when he hit a deep spot and the 4-wheeler submerged in the water. Cash was able to stand on the 4-wheeler as his wife threw him a tow strap tied to a pickup truck.

He grabbed the tow strap, tied it to the 4-wheeler and walked himself out of the water. Cash then pulled the 4-wheeler out and onto dry land.

But they were still without supplies.

So Ashley made calls to friends, who would get supplies for her family and her father via airboat.

But Justin needed to reach a spot where he could retrieve the items.

So with a long walking stick, he headed out on Sunday.

“I used that (stick) to keep balanced and feel around and check depths to make sure I wasn’t going to walk into a hole,” he said.

A large portion of the lane leading to the Cash house is gone, but the water had receded quite a bit and slowed by Sunday. Cash still walked through at least a foot of water.

From his house, Cash estimates he walked about a half mile to Ridge Road.

It took a coordinated effort to get supplies to the Cashes and Olmstead.

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Craig and Holly Hittner of Fremont, who have an airboat, brought the supplies to Jon Peterson, who lives on Big Island Road, and some friends, who met Justin Cash on Ridge Road.

Supplies included milk, cheese, fruit and Hamburger Helper.

“We have hamburger, so they were just trying to bring us stuff to make meals,” Ashley said.

Cash now has a new name for the place where he and his family lives.

Instead of Olmstead Lake, he calls it “Olmstead Island.”

Cash and his family are grateful to the people who brought them groceries.

“We’ve never seen anything like that and I’m sure anybody else hasn’t either,” he said. “My father-in-law’s lived here 20 years and he’s been coming out here his entire life and never seen this happen.”

#NebraskaStrong in flood-ravaged areas


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