Commentary by Kathy Wood
Matthew, Katrina, the tsunami in Japan. All natural disasters at the hand of Mother Nature, happening during our time. My family and I are fortunate that we have never been through anything like these events, but when my middle son, Collin, 16, and I recently returned from a three-day trip to Baton Rouge, we truly had a greater appreciation for what Ms. Nature could do at any moment.
We flew down there on a whim to help those affected by the recent flooding, which damaged 146,000 homes and forced thousands of Louisianans into shelters. The flood was characterized as the worst U.S. natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Collin and I wanted to help demo homes, and that’s what we did. Through a local friend, I was able to connect with a church in the Baton Rouge area which placed us on a “demo team,” and we went to work. Walking into our first home, you could smell the mold rapidly growing, with the water lines at waist level.
We helped an elderly woman named Hilda pull up her entire wood flooring, knock down cabinets, remove drywall and carry debris (the entire contents of her home) to the sidewalk so that a large crane could eventually come by to remove what it could. Imagine the same scenario for everyone in just one neighborhood. It looked like a war zone!
In those few days we were able to help three other elderly people, all of whom had no flood insurance. It was heartbreaking hearing their stories, but it was an eye-opening experience for both me and my son and the people in Baton Rouge who will have to continue their clean up, unfortunately, for years to come.
Kathy Wood is a Zionsville resident and Realtor with Century 21 Scheetz.