BARBOURS - It was battered and bruised, but the farmhouse Robert and Phyllis Rung live in survived the ravages of last September's flooding intact.
Robert Rung credits the strong foundation of the house, which was purchased by his father Walter Rung in 1949, with its ability to weather the storm.
The foundation of the Rungs' marriage appears to be on solid ground, as well.
Robert and Phyllis Rung, of Barbours, look at photographs of their flood-damaged home with their great-grandson, Bryce Lee Parker. The Rungs spent the night huddled in an upstairs bedroom as flood waters swamped the first floor of their farmhouse.
Robert Rung, of Barbours, points to the high-water mark on his farmhouse. Rung said the house’s strong foundation prevented it from being destroyed by last year’s flood.
The couple spent a harrowing night in an upstairs bedroom of the home after they became trapped.
They were in the middle of moving valuables to the top floor of the house, when flood waters engulfed their home and sent them scurrying for safety upstairs.
Rung said he was so focused on the work at hand that he did not notice water moving through the fields behind his house. By the time he did notice it, the house was surrounded and the water was getting deeper by the minute, he said.
"We were carrying things upstairs," Robert Rung said. "The water came so fast it came up through the registers on the floor."
"He said, 'Get upstairs now,' " Phyllis Rung said. "I started to scream, 'Bob, come on!' "
"He said he wasn't leaving and I wasn't about to, either," she said. "We've spent 51 years together and I wasn't about to leave him."
Trapped and helpless inside their own home, the Rungs spent the night upstairs with the sound of floodwaters wreaking havoc downstairs.
"I finally dozed off, then I'd wake up and hear the noise on the first floor," Phyllis Rung said.
"The refrigerator and freezer - everything on the first floor was upset," Robert Rung said. "You could hear dishes breaking. There were sounds that you didn't know what it was."
Asked if he was frightened, Rung said, "You'd better believe it."
The couple said they were unsure of whether they would live through the night, but they weren't the only ones concerned for their safety. Their daughter, Karen Rine, who lives near their home, stood at the edge of the floodwaters and called to her mother, who responded from an upstairs window of the house.
"Our daughter stood back by the barn and called for us," Phyllis Rung said. "She lost her voice and I couldn't take it anymore so I went back to the bedroom. My main thought was that I was never going to see her again."
"I stood with an umbrella, hollering," Rine said as tears welled up in her eyes.
The next day came and with it, the receding floodwaters. The Rungs descended the stairs to view the damage.
The entire downstairs was wrecked. Rescuers brought a boat up to the back porch to remove Phyllis Rung from the house. Robert Rung donned his fishing waders and walked out.
The Rungs moved in with Karen and her husband, Jeff. Phyllis stayed with them about three weeks. Robert was there for two days, then he moved back into the house to begin work on it.
The work was extensive.
"It looked like a disaster for a while," Robert Rung said.
Friends, family and sometimes total strangers came to their assistance. A team of Amish volunteers showed up to help. The National Guard patrolled the area to discourage looters and provide assistance. The township fire company also helped with supplies. The Rungs sometimes got meals at the fire hall, which had been turned into a disaster relief center.
Eventually, the couple moved into a camper trailer where they cooked and ate their meals until they could move back into the house.
Robert Rung said work on the house went from sunup to sundown. He had knee replacement surgery a year before the flood. The knee held up well, he said. Since the flood, he has been on medication for hypertension, a condition he did not have prior to it.
Robert Rung said he hopes a better communication system is put in place to alert people in the Loyalsock Valley during similar situations.
He and his wife said they are thankful for the assistance they received from others and for being able to return to their home.
"I feel bad for everyone in the valley - Sullivan County, too," he said. "A lot of them lost everything. We have friends above Hillsgrove who lost their whole house."
Damage to the house has been repaired, but the emotional trauma of the event lingers for its occupants.
"We try not to think about it," said Phyllis Rung. "Then there are times when you look for something and think, 'Well, I must have lost that in the flood.' "