Amid a disastrous situation for a Bells Flats resident, many community members stepped up to bring rays of hope.
Earlier last week, Larry Evans’ home began to fill with water as the Russian River overflowed its banks. Asking for help is something most people struggle with, but in this case Evans didn’t have to ask.
“Larry, you’re going to get help whether you like it or not,” Judi Kidder said.
Kidder, a former resident of Bells Flats and friend of Evans, posted a request via Facebook for volunteers to help with the demolition and cleanup process. Within days, volunteers from the community were organized and set to work helping Evans in any way they could. By Friday evening, work had already begun. More community members showed up on Saturday with happy hearts and necessary tools. Damaged sheetrock was cut out and removed along with any wet insulation.
Alaska Waste donated the fees to deliver and pick up a dumpster to Evans’ home.
“We’d already started loading Bob Stanford’s trailer with household goods and sheetrock, so when the dumpster came, we pitched all the drywall and other construction debris in the dumpster,” Kidder said.
The home had filled with at least a foot of water, leaving damaged walls and furniture in the entire first floor. On Saturday, the living area was cleared out, drywall and insulation removed and all furniture placed in the middle of the room so fans and heaters could be used to dry out the walls.
“The way everybody came together and just helped get that sheetrock out was amazing. The biggest thing was getting the damp sheetrock and insulation out before the mold started, and it happened seamlessly,” Kidder said.
The response to the call for help came in all forms. Some have donated money, while others showed up to help with the demolition. Bags of flooded clothes, linens and blankets were taken back to a local church and distributed to be washed and dried by members. “When I asked for help it was there,” Kidder said. “I had offers for all kinds of stuff. People were offering to come with tools and put drywall back in on Sunday.”
Right now, the goal is to get the walls and foundation completely dried out before replacing anything.
“Thank goodness it was just one home,” Kidder said. “But, if something bad happens, Kodiak is the best place for it to happen.”
Evans was grateful for the outpouring of service. “It was heart lifting,” Evans said. “All of the sudden our community kicks in and gives you another head start.”
The work is far from finished, and there are still ways to help. An account in Evans’ name has been set up at Spenard Builders Supply, and according to Kidder, people have already started donating.
“The other thing that will help are donations to help with electric bill,” Kidder said. “The fans and the heaters are going to run the bill up, and with his recent shoulder surgery he’s not working right now.”
Cases of water will also be helpful. Since the septic system was saturated with water, the drinking water is questionable. Anyone wanting to donate or give time is encouraged to call Judi Kidder at (907) 487-2421.