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Mercer community seeks federal help for flood damage

By: Gabriel Roxas Email
By: Gabriel Roxas Email

Several flood-damaged areas of our state are now eligible for federal assistance, but others are still waiting to hear about their county. Until then, they're on their own, and members of one mercer county community are pulling together-- to help each other through some of the worst damage.

Torry Lemp says his home on Palisades Road used to be paradise at one time. It hasn't even been two weeks since high waters inundated his neighborhood, but a tour from his front yard to his back yard and throughout his home makes paradise seem like a distant memory. "Every morning I come in. We're tearing out drywall, carpet, padding. We got to get the insulation out of the walls," Lemp said.

Next door, Robert Miller has set up his own 24-hour command post in a trailer. "I got this the night before last," Miller said, but otherwise I'd been in my truck. I slept in my work parking lot. I slept at a friend's house."

Despite the devastation, these proud homeowners still cherish the memory and the promise of their neighborhood. "I just love this place, man. It's really a garden of Eden until Hell unleashes," Miller said.

Trina Howard considers herself one of the lucky ones. She built her home after a law required a foundation to be built above the floodplain. "When we look at the devastation on our road, ours pales in comparison," Howard said.

Concern for her neighbors prompted Howard to help organize several upcoming meetings to explore what kind of assistance may be available. "They're going to have to build back, if they're wanting back in their homes and they have to meet code requirements, and that is going to require a lot more than just some insurance. It's going to require some federal help," Howard said.

Several local businesses have provided food and emergency supplies to the community. If you'd like to help, starting Thursday at 8am, a command post will be set up at the former BJ's furniture store near the intersection of Palisades Road and Highway-68, where volunteers will distribute supplies and information about flood relief.

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