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Fighting for disaster victims



The Wilson County Salvation Army is raising awareness and funds for flood victims still unable to return home.

See story in Lebanon Democrat below

Channel 5 news story on July 22 with Marcus Washington reporting


A Family, a City, A county still in need
Article in Lebanon Democrat July 21,2010

The May floods are just a memory to many. But to Doreen and her husband Joe, whose home is on the edge of caving in, each day is a prayer for survival and safety.   The Salvation Army has recently been made aware of this need, and with the help of Wilson County residents, hopes that a special fund called: "Rebuild Wilson County" will help this family and others get back into their homes.   We hope that the following letter written by Doreen Reynolds of Watertown will inspire all who read it to help others who are still suffering.

Letter from Doreen Reynolds of Watertown:

" On May first, my husband  and I became victims, like so many other  families, suffering from the historic flood that ravaged the middle TN area.  Around 12:30 on a rainy afternoon, I instinctively went to our basement and discovered over 3 inches of water and phoned my husband, Joe, who was working in Lebanon.  I asked him to come home immediately because he had saws and other tools plugged in with extension cords in the basement.

Upon his arrival home, we both went into the basement and started unplugging all the equipment as I was afraid of being electrocuted (by the grace of God we weren't).  My husband went back outside to try to dig a trench to detour the water to avoid further flood damage. I returned upstairs and within ten minutes, I felt the house shaking, and I felt our log home creaking and then a huge crashing noise.  My first thought and fear was a tornado touching down and destroying our home.  I made a dash to the basement for protection and discovered that the basement wall on the back of our home had caved in.  I saw daylight, rain, mud and rubble.  It was shocking and overwhelming.

Needless to say, I was in a panic, with adrenaline rushing through my body, because I didn't know where my husband was.  I raced outside to find him.  I was afraid he might be underneath the pile of concrete blocks and dirt.  I was horrified because the whole house had shifted and I couldn't open the back door. The back of the house was like a big mudslide or sinkhole.

I ran out the front door screaming for my husband and when I found him, safe and unharmed, it was the happiest moment our 18 years of marriage.  My next thought and fear, was getting our pets out of the house.  I was so afraid the entire house was going to collapse and kill our beloved dogs, Katie, Treasure, Gypsy and Rocky who are like children to us along with Punkin, our pet Pot-Belly pig who stayed in the laundry room.  After a lot of prayer and patience, we finally got all of the pets out of the house.

May 1, 2010 is a day I will never forget, but I also thank the good Lord that we are still here to talk about it.  Our guardian angels were protecting us and we know if we were in the basement ten minutes later, we would both have been killed or badly injured.  Each day is a blessing from God, even though we have had many stressful and disappointing days since May first.

Needless to say, our insurance company denied our claim and we received less than half of what we need to repair the damage from FEMA.  Like a lot of other flood victims, we were denied by the SBA for a loan, and also denied our appeal by FEMA.  We have received no response from our mortgage holder (Bank of America) for a Natural Disaster Relief Retention.  To add to our stress, we have also received a foreclosure notice from Bank of America.  I held up paying our mortgage, hoping that this might get them to respond to my application for assistance.  I have been hours on the phone, being put on hold, and transferred from customer service rep to another, and even being transferred to a CSR in India.  I have never been so frustrated in my entire life.  I spent two hours at our local Bank of America, and still we have no answer about our application for disaster relief, but we have been assured that foreclosure will be held off.

I know, by now, the flood of May first is old news for Wilson County residents, but to me, it is a daily challenge.  My poor husband, who is self employed, has had to turn down work in order to continue the debris clean up inside the basement.   He is trying to brace up the house by himself to save money.  We have not asked for volunteers to help due to the danger and the risk of the house collapsing on them.  We would not want anyone injured here and I pray each time he goes into the basement to work.

We presently live in a small camper behind the house.  We could not move to another place with 4 dogs and one pot belly pig.  I pray we will be back into our home before winter because our water to the camper is coming in with a hose and I am afraid it will freeze.  The $185.00 rental fee for this camper is far less than a local motel or house. 

Through all of this I am still so thankful for our health and safety and the numbers of people who have tried to help us.  We want to thank the American Red Cross for supplies from the relief store and a debit card for food.  Also, our thanks to the Help Center for help with utilities and a months rent for this camper.   A special thanks to Sara Patton who helped us access Red Cross funds and told our story to Mr. Charles Taylor who donated us the use of a port-a-potty.  Our church, family members, and friends have blessed us with monetary donations and have given us the spiritual and moral support that have carried us this far.  

We are still struggling, and I am sure others in Wilson County are too.  We would appreciate your prayers for a miracle!  I am thankful for our camper, but I still would like to be back in our house..."

The Salvation Army of Wilson County will designate one thousand dollars towards this "Rebuild Wilson County Fund" to help Doreen and Joe get back into their log cabin before winter.   In these hard times, if you are able to help this family, please send your tax deductible gifts to The Salvation Army PO Box 835, Lebanon, TN. 37088.  Please designate your gift "Rebuild Wilson County".  All donations will go directly to the Reynolds family.  If there is a surplus, other donations will be used to help other flood victims.  We thank the Lebanon Democrat for printing this story and we hope to update readers with photos of a finished basement and a happy family home for Thanksgiving!  Please call Marie Wulfing at 579-2457 with any questions or updates.   Please look for our booth and fund raising bucket at the Wilson County Fair in August.



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