Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 28, 2013

Community shines in wake of flood

Individuals and organizations step up to help those in need.

Christy Crawford has washed and dried more than 200 loads of laundry in the nine days since Big Cicero Creek poured over its banks and flooded Tipton.

She’s washed precious family heirlooms and cared for muddy teddy bears that belong to children who have lost everything else.

It’s her small way to give back to her community that lost so much, she said. It’s no big deal.

“I’m washing a lot of dirty clothes,” she said. “That’s all.”

But that’s not all.

She bought all of her own laundry detergent, dryer sheets and fabric softener to make sure the clothes she returns to flood victims feel and smell good.

Lately, she’s even been going door to door in flood-affected neighborhoods asking devastated homeowners if she can help them with their laundry.

“I’m worried their clothes are going to get moldy,” she said.

Many people in the Tipton area just don’t have a way to do laundry right now. Their washers and dryers were destroyed by floodwaters, and some people lost their vehicles, too. Tipton has no laundry facility, either.

So just about every day, Crawford fills her Chevrolet Tahoe up with sopping wet and muddy clothes, teddy bears, sheets, covers, curtains and pillowcases and drives them to Crudee Duds, her laundry in Elwood.

She spends hours every night cleaning people’s belongings. Then she delivers the fresh laundry to their doorstep when she’s done.

“I’ve been to a lot of muddy houses,” she said. “I don’t think people realize how much people lost. People are devastated.”

Crawford went to one home and saw a family mopping up water left behind after the water receded with blankets, sheets, pillowcases and curtains – any kind of cloth they could find. Then they would wring them out the best they could and hang them in tree branches to dry. Just to do the whole thing over again.

Crawford had to do something. She drove back and forth between their home and her laundry drying the blankets, curtains, sheets and pillowcases as quickly as she could, she said.

And people appreciate her efforts. She’s had strangers offer her $100 bills. Some have bought her a soda. One person had an angel delivered to her back door. She gets lots of tears and hugs.

That’s not why she does it, though.

Why is she going through all this trouble? Her explanation is simple.

“People need help sometimes,” she said. “You have to help.”

All over Tipton and Howard counties, people, churches, schools and community organizations are stepping up to help flood victims – sometimes in surprising ways.

United Way of Howard County Communications Coordinator Beth Rattray said the stories she’s heard have lifted her spirits.

There’s the plumber who went to a home to fix a woman’s water heater only to hand her a bill that read “A & B Plumbing No charge.”

Rattray said she also heard about a waitress in the area who lost everything in the flood. Her co-workers decided to secretly pool their tips one night to give to her. They told their customers and some were dropping $100 bills as they left.

When the Red Cross emergency shelter opened at Memorial Gym, there were two mothers in need of size 3 diapers for their babies.

Someone sent out a tweet asking for help, and within an hour, 15 boxes of that size diaper were delivered to the gym.

“These stories are huge,” Rattray said. “It speaks a lot about the community.”

Bridges Outreach has had teams out every night cleaning homes and ripping out soggy carpet. They called for cleanup crews to help them on Saturday. They needed people with waders, rubber gloves, shovels, utility knives, shop vacuums and pressure washers.

In a blog post calling for volunteers, officials at Bridges wrote, “This past week has been a tough and challenging one for many in Kokomo. We’ve encountered person after person and family after family that has been devastated and lost everything because of last week’s flood. We have a HUGE opportunity to rise up and care for our neighbors and be the Church God calls us to be.”

The 11 third- and fourth-graders at Acacia Academy were sent out Tuesday to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

They gave up part of their school day to deliver information cards to flood victims. The children walked two miles and knocked on hundreds of doors.

“Their goal was to talk to people person-to-person, be a smiling face and offer encouragement,” said Head of School Rob Hoshaw.

Adeola Esan said very few people actually came to their doors. Many had abandoned their homes already.

“It was sad,” she said. “I saw some kids’ toys scattered across a yard.”

Hoshaw said he was proud of his students for what they did, even if they didn’t get to talk to as many people as they wanted to.

“You walked more than two miles without a single complaint, without a grumble,” he told them Thursday. “You were propelled by goodness.”

A few miles away at Kokomo Urban Outreach’s temporary warehouse, a group of women were using their day off to sort clothes for flood victims.

There were at least 36 big boxes and trash bags full of clothes of all sizes that people had donated.

Teddi Heinzman said she would volunteer as long as she could – probably five hours.

When you’re blessed and don’t have problems, you need to do what you can to help, she said.

Every small act of kindness makes a difference, said Deanna Ancil, who was managing the warehouse.

“Even if you’re just folding clothes and you don’t know exactly where it’s going to go, you know it will end up on someone’s back,” she said. “It’s that feeling that you’re helping someone through their worst time when they’ve lost everything. I feel good when I give.”

 

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Kokomo Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Bldg Wall Collapse 01 KipCor purchases partially collapsed downtown building A building that has long been a part of downtown Kokomo’s landscape will remain intact, but undergo extensive demolition, after being purchased by a company that has been active in the city’s redevelopment efforts. The Barko building, also known as t

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • mopeds Mo-ped law means some scooters now require license With more and more mo-peds hitting the streets, police are having a hard time enforcing new restrictions encompassed in the new scooter law. Mo-ped drivers can still cruise the streets and roads on their two-wheel machines, but the new state law, whi

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Supreme Court observers predict ‘wide open’ process of picking of next chief INDIANAPOLIS — State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson surprised observers in June when he decided to step down after a brief tenure in the leadership post. Another surprise may be in store when his replacement is named. A seven-member panel

    July 29, 2014

  • Council committee to present dog ordinance draft Aug. 11 Kokomo Common Council committee members will provide a draft of proposed changes to its dog ordinance at its Aug. 11 meeting. The release date for the draft was pushed back following a committee meeting where 25 members of the public aired their conc

    July 29, 2014

  • NIPSCO donates $50K to YMCA campaign The Northern Indiana Public Service Company donated $50,000 Tuesday to the Kokomo Family YMCA's Beyond the Bricks campaign to build a new Y in downtown Kokomo. "The Y is a great resource for the community, so we're glad to help it grow and add to the

    July 29, 2014

  • Indiana BMV asks court to delay vanity plate sales INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles has asked the state Supreme Court for permission to continue its suspension on sales of vanity plates until a court case is settled. The Indiana attorney general's office announced Monday it ha

    July 29, 2014

  • Fatal wreck UPDATE: Woman killed in overnight wreck near 31-931 split

    One person was killed late Monday night in an automobile accident involving a car and semi-trailer truck in the northbound lane of U.S. 31 near the junction with U.S. 931.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Higher ed chief rolls out class load campaign INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's higher education commissioner wants college students to get the message that they should take at least 15 credit hours each semester if they expect to graduate on time. Commissioner Teresa Lubbers on Monday kicked off a

    July 29, 2014

  • Commission postpones rezoning vote for Functional Devices land TIPTON — Residents of Prairie Acres subdivision will have to wait at least two more weeks to learn the fate of a pair of zoning requests from Functional Devices. At Monday’s regularly-scheduled bi-weekly county commissioners meeting, city-county plan

    July 29, 2014

  • Illinois man leads police on high-speed chase PERU — An Illinois man driving at speeds of 120 mph led officers from three counties on a high-speed chase Sunday before crashing into a utility pole. Peru police say Isaac K. Hoefling, 31, Lamont, Illinois, was first pulled over by Howard County dep

    July 28, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries