Sep. 18, 2013 at 8:22 AM ET
Residents displaced by historic flooding in Colorado have started to return to their communities to assess the damage and piece together their lives.
But the horrors of the past week continue for one Boulder family still searching for their father.
Gerry Boland left his family home with Cheron, his wife of 54 years, after an order to evacuate was issued in the middle of the night.
The couple took two cars and got separated on their way to the shelter, the school where Gerry had taught for 30 years. His family believes he made it to the school but turned around at some point during the night.
“I guess he wanted to see if I went home,” Cheron told NBC’s Kate Snow.
That prompted Cheron to go look for her husband. She got back into her car but the vehicle stalled in the rushing water that swallowed up most of the roads home.
“I had to be rescued at the other edge of town,” she said.
Rescue crews came to her aid in the only vehicle that could reach her, a front-loader. She was taken away in its front scoop.
“Two or three people got out in wetsuits, put a life jacket on me and sat me on the seat in all the mud and away we went,” she said.
Her children saw the dramatic rescue on the news, not realizing whom they were watching.
“We saw the footage all day on Thursday and had no idea it was our mom,” said Amy Hoh, one of the couple’s daughters.
Today, search teams continue to look for Gerry, a beloved figure in the community.
“Everybody that ever had him in school has been out looking for him, so I thank everybody so much,” Cheron said tearfully.
Gerry’s overturned pickup truck was found near the family home in the river, but his family isn’t ready to give up hope.
“We are swollen with pride for him,” Hoh said. “I just can't say enough about how proud I am to be his daughter and how proud I am that he did all the right things in the end.”