Family believes Colo. man swept away by floods was looking for wife

(CBS News) LYONS, Colo. -- The flooding in Colorado has created a new hazard: state officials said Thursday more than 19,000 gallons of oil have leaked from two facilities into rivers. Days of unrelenting rain killed at least seven people, and at last count, about 200 people are still unaccounted for.

Gerry Boland went missing after he and his wife evacuated their home as flood waters swept through town.
Gerry Boland went missing after he and his wife evacuated their home as flood waters swept through town.

Emergency sirens went off in Lyons at 2:20 last Thursday morning as flood waters swept through town. Eighty-year-old Gerry Boland disappeared soon after.

"It's extremely hard. I wouldn't wish this on anyone," said Amy Hoh, his daughter.

Boland and his wife Cheron planned to take separate cars to their daughter's house. But the route was blocked by traffic and washed out bridges. Cheron pulled over in hopes of spotting her husband.

Moments later, she became trapped by rising water. Her rescue was captured on video; a front-end loader was the fastest way to get her out.

Amy Hoh
Amy Hoh
CBS News

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Five days passed before Gerry Boland's truck was found underwater near the couple's home. His family thinks he was looking for his wife.

"They were looking for each other," Amy said. "They just didn't know where each other -- where they were."

Cheron Boland
Cheron Boland
CBS News

Boland taught sixth grade at the elementary school for 30 years. Many of those who volunteered to search for him are his former students. Cheron Boland says her husband would be overwhelmed.

"He should realize how many lives he touched," she said. "I mean, he'd wonder what the fuss was over him. ... I think they all loved him, and they're all looking out for him."

"I miss him so much. I would give anything to see --" Amy said, before breaking down in tears. "But I have all his words, I have all his advice, I have everything he raised me with."

Gerry Boland's body was found Thursday afternoon. It was about a half-mile downstream from the family's home in an area that had been flooded.

If you would like to donate to the flood victims of Lyons, Colorado, you may do so by clicking here: Lyons Community Foundation.

  • Anna Werner

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