Flood victims receive help from local agencies

The American Red Cross has set up a Multi-Agency Resource Center in Alexander County, Illinois, where people are giving out tetanus shots and flood clean-up kits, counselors are providing advice and disaster relief teams are helping families recover. 

Betty Walden and her husband, Don, are one of those families. They’ve lived in their Olive Branch home for about 22 years. They call it their dream home, but it’s a mess now, after the flood drowned the place in 18 inches of water. 

"Well it’s looks like a wreck right now," says Betty Walden.

The walls have been torn out. The carpet was ripped from the floorboards and the insulation is sitting in a pile outside.

"It’s kind of depressing, a little bit," says Walden.

However, it needs to be done. Volunteers with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief stepped in to do the job so Walden and her husband could focus on other things. 

"Those guys and gals are really working," says Walden. "They are really nice people."

She says it’s still hard to see her dream home in ruins. 

"I just hate to start over again," says Walden.

Walden says she tried to save as much as she could before the water got into her home. But, for somethings, like priceless family photos, it was too late. 

"Everything is gone," says Walden. "All stuck together."       

Walden is in full recovery mode right now, and she’s getting through it with help from people like Sara Gerau from the American Red Cross.

"We want to make sure that we’re coming to them and assisting them, and giving them what they need so they can start on that road to recovery," says Gerau. 

Walden’s home was also flooded in 2011 and she says that experience doesn’t make this one any easier. 

"It makes it worse the second time around," says Walden.

However, Walden says she’s not giving up.

"I just love the lake, and I just love my home," says Walden. "I love everything about it."

While all of this has been going on, Walden and her husband have been living at the farm house in Thebes. 

Walden says they hope to move back into their dream home sometime this spring.

Crews with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief are in Alexander County for the next week or so, helping to clean up about 50 homes.

They’re looking for more volunteers to help out.

If you’re interested, call Joe Jackson at 618-841-5015.

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