IBJNews

Johnson County flood victims still reeling 4 years later

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Edinburgh resident Daniel Garvey was in Ohio when he got a call that his neighborhood had flooded.

His cellphone died before he could find out how bad it was.

Garvey rushed to his Johnson County home and found that it was worse than he'd imagined.

Floodwater had risen over some mailboxes in his Pruitt East neighborhood.

A 4-pound bass was swimming in his backyard. One of his vehicles was underwater. Everything in his house was soaked or tainted with mildew.

Garvey had to borrow about $90,000 to fix up his home and replace his possessions. Now he has to make $400-a-month payments on the loan.

"It's a real kick in the back of the head," he said.

He feels as though he's stuck with a second mortgage and won't be able to pay off the debt for at least a decade.

The devastating 2008 flood continues to have repercussions for victims, even if they no longer have all their soaked possessions piled on their lawns, Garvey said. Flood victims are still paying off the tens of thousands of dollars they had to borrow in some cases to hang new drywall, lay down new carpeting and replace major appliances.

"People drive by, see that your house looks nice and think that everything's fine," he said. "But flood victims are still paying for that. It's the flood all over again every time I have to pay that bill."

Edinburgh residents who took water in their homes said they've been thinking more about the flood as the fourth anniversary approached. They said they've tried to put it out of mind and move on with their lives even if it took a toll on their finances or health.

Many lost irreplaceable possessions, such as baby photos, scrapbooks full of memories or family Bibles they inherited.

The town was one of the hardest-hit communities in Johnson County during the 2008 flood, but most residents were able to stay and rebuild, town council member Ron Hoffman said. They didn't have to tear down homes but had to replace drywall and carpeting.

An engineering firm recently completed a drainage plan for Edinburgh aimed at preventing such flooding in the future, Hoffman said. The town must figure out how to pay for new drains and other infrastructure.

Edinburgh already has fixed a broken pipe and installed new drains, including a wide-mouthed one on the cul-de-sac in front of Marshall Kaserman's house in Pruitt East.

Kaserman's home flooded in the late 1970s, but he decided to stay and rebuild. His home took more than 30 inches of water four years ago.

Repairs cost about $30,000, but life has since gotten back to normal, he said.

"I try to put it out of my mind," he said. "If it floods again, I just won't come back."

Pruitt East resident Bertha Bailey also has tried to forget about the flood by focusing on her grandchildren's sports, including her grandson's run last season with the high school boys' basketball team.

Floodwater destroyed most of her husband's Coca-Cola memorabilia collection, furniture he bought her for Christmas shortly after they were married and the possessions they saved from their late sons, who died in a car accidents.

The Baileys had to live in a camper in their driveway for about a month while they hung new drywall and rebuilt.

"I try not to even think about it," she said. "I just think that nothing can be done, and it happened. It's gone. I just don't let it bother me."

Garvey said it can be hard to move on when he's still paying for major repairs, appliances and all the other things he had to replace.

"Water is devastating," he said. "Even if it doesn't touch it, the condensation and mildew absolutely destroys everything. All your clothes are gone. All the pictures on the wall are gone. Everything is gone, done."

Expenses pile up, and the debt can't be paid off quickly or easily, he said.

"It's a real hardship," he said. "You've got to take out all these loans to get back on your feet, and you just keep paying and paying."

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Socialized medicine works great for white people in Scandanavia. It works well in Costa Rica for a population that is partly white and partly mestizo. I don't really see Obamacare as something aimed against whites. I think that is a Republican canard designed to elicit support from white people for republican candidates who don't care about them any more than democrats care about the non-whites they pander to with their phony maneuvers. But what is different between Costa Rica nd the Scandanavian nations on one hand and the US on the other? SIZE. Maybe the US is just too damn big. Maybe it just needs to be divided into smaller self governing pieces like when the old Holy Roman Empire was dismantled. Maybe we are always trying the same set of solutions for different kinds of people as if we were all the same. Oh-- I know-- that is liberal dogma, that we are all the same. Which is the most idiotic American notion going right back to the propaganda of 1776. All men are different and their differences are myriad and that which is different is not equal. The state which pretends men are all the same is going to force men to be the same. That is what America does here, that is what we do in our stupid overseas wars, that is how we destroy true diversity and true difference, and we are all as different groups of folks, feeling the pains of how capitalism is grinding us down into equally insignificant proletarian microconsumers with no other identity whether we like it or not. And the Marxists had this much right about the War of Independence: it was fundamentally a war of capitalist against feudal systems. America has been about big money since day one and whatever gets in the way is crushed. Health care is just another market and Obamacare, to the extent that it Rationalizes and makes more uniform a market which should actually be really different in nature and delivery from place to place-- well that will serve the interests of the biggest capitalist stakeholders in health care which is not Walmart for Gosh Sakes it is the INSURANCE INDUSTRY. CUI BONO Obamacare? The insurance industry. So republicans drop the delusion pro capitalist scales from your eyes this has almost nothing to do with race or "socialism" it has to do mostly with what the INSURANCE INDUSTRY wants to have happen in order to make their lives and profits easier.

  2. Read the article - the reason they can't justify staying is they have too many medicare/medicaid patients and the re-imbursements for transporting these patient is so low.

  3. I would not vote for Bayh if he did run. I also wouldn't vote for Pence. My guess is that Bayh does not have the stomach to oppose persons on the far left or far right. Also, outside of capitalizing on his time as U. S. Senator (and his wife's time as a board member to several companies) I don't know if he is willing to fight for anything. If people who claim to be in the middle walk away from fights with the right and left wing, what are we left with? Extremes. It's probably best for Bayh if he does not have the stomach for the fight but the result is no middle ground.

  4. JK - I meant that the results don't ring true. I also questioned the 10-year-old study because so much in the "health care system" has changed since the study was made. Moreover, it was hard to get to any overall conclusion or observation with the article. But....don't be defensive given my comments; I still think you do the best job of any journalist in the area shedding light and insight on important health care issues.

  5. Probably a good idea he doesn't run. I for one do not want someone who lives in VIRGINIA to be the governor. He gave it some thought, but he likes Virginia too much. What a name I cannot say on this site! The way these people think and operate amuses me.

ADVERTISEMENT