Friday, September 27, 2013

Colorado Flood: Helping Others While in Need of Help

Story and photos by Robert W. Wallace

American Red Cross David Gearou talks with volunteers
from the Weld Food Bank as local residents gather
to receive food supplies. Gearou is a member of the
Red Cross Community Partnership Team and helps to
facilitate working relationships between local community
agencies and the Red Cross disaster relief effort.
Evans, Colorado, September 25, 2013 - Although now homeless due to the recent flooding, Glen Smithey, an employee of the Weld Food Bank, was present at the multi-agency Disaster Recovery Center in Evans, Colorado, to assist with food distribution for local families in need. During a lull in the activity, he sat down with Red Cross client caseworker Samantha Redmond to register for benefits for himself and obtain referrals to other agencies for disaster benefits.

"My home is now at the bottom of Lake Evans," said former Eastwood Village resident Glenn Smithey. On September 13 Smithey and his wife Vicki made the final mortgage payment on their mobile home. Then disaster struck: that very same day, a Friday the 13th, flood waters swept through their mobile home park, destroying what had been their home for almost ten years.

Weld Food Bank employee Glen Smithey with American Red
Cross case-worker Samantha Redmond at the multi-agency
Disaster Recovery Center in Evans, Colorado. Smithey opened
a case with the Red Cross and also received referrals to other
agencies for disaster relief.
Even worse, the mobile home park was located right across from the local sewage treatment plant. When the floodwaters washed over the plant, they carried the raw sewage right through the mobile home park. Smithey thinks that it will be a long time before the now sewage-inundated land will return as a safe place to live.

The Smitheys mortgage payment included a payment for home insurance, but unfortunately, they did not have a separate flood policy. As a result, their insurance company has denied them all recovery benefits.

Vicki Smithey is a manager for Harbor Freight Tools, in Fort Collins, Colorado. Her company has provided them with temporary housing at Candlewood Suites hotel. They are looking for a new home. said Smithey.

Glenn Smithey is a truck driver and warehouse worker for the Weld Food Bank in Greeley, Colorado. On this day he had brought the food bank's mobile feeding truck along with a group volunteers to the multi-agency Disaster Recovery Center in Evans, Colorado. At times there was a long line of residents waiting for food assistance.

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