Flood of '08 remains a nightmare

Monday, December 7, 2009

GREENCASTLE -- For one Putnam County family, the flood disaster in June 2008 is still a nightmare. A family living near the Parke County line recently discovered problems with mold throughout their house. It is the residual effect of the 2008 flood.

The extent of the problem was not noticed until near Thanksgiving, when the family, who wish to remain anonymous, began pulling out cooking sheets from under their counters in the kitchen. They discovered mold growing up all the walls.

Their home suffered water damage in the flood but the family believed they had taken care of any problems associated with it.

The house will have to be demolished because the mold is so extensive.

"This is a self-sufficient family who has always taken care of themselves. They dealt with the flood damage in June and thought everything was okay. Then they discovered the mold just before Thanksgiving. Now they don't even have a home," said Dick Andis, IND Funds coordinator for Putnam County.

Andis got a call from someone connected to the family who had seen his name associated with articles about the IND Disaster Fund that was established through a disaster relief and recovery grant from the Lilly Endowment for $45 million made to the Indiana Association of United Ways in June 2008.

The United Way is only the fiscal agent for the funds and has had no input into projects or how the monies have been spent.

Andis called Case Manager Dean Gambill with Disaster Recovery, Wabash Valley Coalition. Gambill estimates replacement of the house to be about $108,000. He is trying to coordinate help for the family.

Some of the money will come from leftover funds from monies remaining from the Lilly Fund in the county.

"There is about $16,000 still available," said Andis. "The money is designated for unmet needs for victims from the flood. We were fortunate not to have any people displaced prior to this family. Most of the money we have received so far has gone to the Soil and Water project."

The Putnam County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) received a grant of $161,150 to correct flood damage in the Big Walnut Creek Water Shed Alliance.

The SWCD worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA) and Big Walnut Creek Water Shed Alliance in specifying damage and measures the costs to be incurred to assist in correcting flood damage.

They have also been working with county commissioners and the highway department to identify key areas for restoration and repair near county roads and bridges.

Additional projects in six counties, including Putnam, have been tabled, pending resolution of other funding sources.

"The bridges project, along with several other projects throughout the state, is still viable but suspended, pending other state and federal opportunities that may arise," said Dick Andis.

Factors used to determine grant awards included local needs, available resources, the scale and type of damage, local demographics and other funding commitments.

"The United Way of Putnam County, Inc. has fiscal responsibility only for the funds. No United Way funds have been used for flood relief. All of our funds are given to designated agencies in the county. The Lilly Endowment is completely separate from United Way funds," explained David English, Putnam County United Way Director.

A group of key community leaders led the grant application process for the Lilly endowment and made all the decisions concerning which projects would apply for the funds.

Anyone with questions about the IND Fund projects may contact Dick Andis directly by calling 720-1342 or writing to Richard Andis, Local Coordinating Committee, 1342 E. CR 210, Greencastle, IN 46135 or by e-mail at randis@broadreach.net

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