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Monday, June 1, 2015

A Scene of Serenity 16 Months After Devastating Floods

by Kelly Wheeler

The little blue house in Lyons, Colo., stands proudly with a fresh coat of paint and fragrant lilacs in the garden – a serene scene that belies the struggles this home and its owners have endured.

In September, 2013, floods devastated a large part of Shawna and Steve Rohrbach’s small town, and while their home was not destroyed, water that seeped in through the roof and walls caused damage. Mold overtook the home, and Shawna became sick.

The couple had to move out so the house could be partially torn down and repaired while they tried to rebuild their own lives. During those 16 months, the couple was forced to move 12 times, causing physical, emotional and financial hardship.

Shawna, 55, who has lived in Lyons for 22 years, says some of her stress during that period was eased by the American Red Cross, which provided financial assistance for housing, furniture and gas.

“The Red Cross was a dream. There was no red tape, no need for endless paperwork, calls or emails. The people treated us with such compassion and kindness, and they were so efficient," Shawna recalls.

Shawna was so impressed by the Red Cross that she plans to volunteer as soon as she can. For now she needs to keep working to help pay off loans, but she says she will never forget how the Red Cross helped her during such a stressful time in her life when it seemed that nobody else truly cared.

While Colorado communities are finally recovering from the 2013 floods, more than 8,000 households in Texas are currently experiencing the devastation caused by severe weather -- and the Red Cross is there for those residents, too. Since early May, more than 1,800 Red Cross workers have opened 37 shelters, served 40,000 meals and snacks and handed out 34,000 relief items and cleaning supplies. 

In Texas, they are just beginning the long journey to recovery, but with help from the Red Cross -- and Red Cross supporters -- we hope that their future holds promise of a return to serenity, as well. If you would like to support our efforts, visit redcross.org to make a donation.

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