Valley Relief Council tours homes it helped repair after flood
While some of the effects of the 2011 flood are still evident in the Valley area, great strides have been made to repairing homes, and more importantly lives which were effected by the disaster.
The Valley Relief Council, a non-profit organization created just a week after the flood hit Bradford County remains dedicated to helping people affected by the flood.
Joined by NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania, a multi-county non-profit organization centered around helping those in need, the VRC toured two newly renovated homes in Athens which just a few years ago were badly damaged during the flood.
The repairs were accomplished through funding from both organizations, most notably grants from NNP up to a maximum of $5,000.
The first of two homes toured, the Wilbur residence at 209 S. Elmira St., received a near $5,000 grant to replace five exterior storm doors and replace the bathroom to now become handicapped accessible.
Mike Watkins and Yvonne Johnson's home at 228 Central Ave. was also toured briefly. While not completely finished, the entire building had to be demolished and rebuilt from the ground up after the flood waters came into the borough. According to NNP Executive Director Jesse Ergott, the family did receive a $5,000 grant for vinyl siding and other miscellaneous exterior work.
Not looking to have the same experience occur again, the house is built with only a garage located on the first floor of the house, with a second floor living area.
Supplies for both houses were purchased from Croft Lumber, and work was completed with help from volunteers.
As members from NNP and VRC toured Johnson's house, she thanked all of them for what they helped for them. According to Johnson, the family spent about 14 months in a FEMA trailer before being able to move back into their new house.
NNP also toured other homes in Luzerne and Wyoming Counties before making the trip to Bradford County in the late afternoon.
"When the flood came, the Valley got hit worse than almost anyone else," Ergott said, after completing the tour.
In total, NNP's Flood Relief Grant Program dished out over $145,000 in financial assistance since its creation in September 2012.
Tim Zyla can be reached at (570) 265-1634; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.