Peninsula Home Fund helps family recover from flooding

EDITOR’s NOTE: – This is another in a series of articles on the Peninsula Home Fund.

“We get to live year-round in a place other people come for vacation,” observes Dennis Greenhill with great satisfaction.

“We love it here.”

Greenhill, a veteran of 21 years of service with the Navy, and his partner, Carolyn Kelly, live in a quiet, green corner of the West End of Clallam County.

A short walk away is the confluence of three rivers — where the Bogachiel and the Sol Duc rivers merge to become the Quillayute River.

“Actually,” Greenhill observes, “even other rivers join upstream (like the Calawah) so that all the rain that falls ultimately runs by here.”

In mid-October, that observation became painfully true when torrential rains combined with high tides to flood the rivers and inundate the mobile home of Greenhill and Kelly.

“We were told that we had 45 minutes to grab what we could and to get out,” recalls Greenhill.

Though their home sits on a relatively high foundation, the place was eventually flooded with more than a foot of water.

“Everything on the floor was ruined,” says Kelly.

“Rugs, sub-flooring, furniture, appliances, items in the bottom cupboards — it was all under water and awash with mud.”

Greenhill remembers standing in the middle of the family room, water to his calves, just turning in circles, taking in the loss.

OlyCAP responds

As the disastrous flooding began to impact the wider community, staff from OlyCAP — Olympic Community Action Programs — opened the Forks Recreation Center for the express purpose of helping flood victims.

“There were three major issues: protecting human life, assessing damage, and finding and coordinating resources to help,” says Cathy Ulin, client services specialist for OlyCAP in Forks.

Ulin was joined by other staff from OlyCAP, including the agency’s executive director, Dan Wollam, who donned an apron and cooked a meal for cold, wet victims and volunteers who came to assist.

It became apparent to the team from OlyCAP that partners would be needed to take on a relief effort of such magnitude.

It turned out that the Greenhill and Kelly would be among dozens of families dispossessed by the flood.

From the washout of state Highway 112 near Neah Bay, to the Hoh tribe’s firewood supply being washed out to sea, to more than a dozen homes being flooded, the toll was mounting.

Ulin smiles as she tells of the local businesses and individuals who stepped forward to help.

“Costco in Sequim provided enough money for us to get cleaning supplies, towels and baby needs. The folks at Thriftway here in Forks were very generous. K Ply provided plywood for those who needed it. And the volunteers were incredible.”

Even neighbors who lost homes pitched in to help others.

Insurance delays

As the waters ebbed and damage was assessed, Greenhill and Kelly learned another hard lesson.

“We were told by our insurance adjusters not to touch anything,” he recalls. “That lasted three whole weeks!”

Then they learned that the bureaucracy of settlement could take months.

“Meanwhile we had no home,” says Greenhill.

The couple finally found temporary shelter with Kelly’s daughter — and began the laborious process of cleaning and reclaiming.

“This couple’s needs were so broad that they needed just about everything OlyCAP could do,” says Ulin.

Peninsula Home Fund

“We arranged to get them some used replacements for their appliances, some other basic needs, but then we saw right away we were going to need a storage unit.

“Thank goodness for the Home Fund!”

Ulin was able to authorize the expenditure of money from the Peninsula Daily News’ Peninsula Home Fund to help the couple with the cost of storage as they put things back together, one piece at a time.

“If it weren’t for these people, we wouldn’t have known what to do,” says Kelly.

Added Greenhill: “I have always been independent — and have never asked for help — but it sure was nice to get the help we received.”

The Peninsula Home Fund was used to help many families affected by flooding.

A vanload of supplies was taken to Neah Bay “by way of a very rough logging road,” says Dave Numme, OlyCAP’s technology director.

As the Federal Emergency Management Agency continues to support local victims, the community slowly rebuilds.

How to give back

Kelly, a puppeteer by avocation, is already trying to figure out how to give back to the community.

She envisions a puppet show to help kids understand better about disasters.

But she fights back tears as she remembers that she lost all her hand-made puppets in the flood.

“I’ll just have to make new ones,” she says.

Greenhill says it won’t be until spring before they can raise the foundation or move the mobile home.

But he is thankful.

“This is the best community I’ve ever lived in — a little different, but that’s what makes it special,” he says.

Part of that difference is the Peninsula Daily News Home Fund.

Jefferson and Clallam

Peninsula Home Fund is seeking contributions for its annual holiday-season fund-raising campaign.

Now in its 15th year, the fund is supported entirely by Jefferson and Clallam residents. It is managed for the Peninsula Daily News by OlyCAP, the No. 1 emergency care agency on the North Olympic Peninsula.

* In the past 12 months, the fund has assisted more than 750 households.

* No money is deducted for administration or other overhead.

* All contributions are fully IRS tax-deductible.

* No money is diverted for administration or other overhead. All costs are absorbed by the PDN and OlyCAP.

* All instances of help are designed to get an individual or family through the crisis — and back on the path to self-sufficiency.

* Home Fund case managers work with each individual or family to develop a plan to become financially stable — and avoid a recurrence of the emergency that prompted aid from the fund.

* Donors’ personal information is kept confidential. The PDN does not rent, sell, give or otherwise share your address or other information with anyone, or make any other use of it.

* Individuals, couples, businesses and school groups set a new record for contributions in 2002 — $67,048. All of that money is expected to be spent by Dec. 31.

* Home Fund contributions are often used in conjunction with money from churches, service clubs and other donors, enabling OlyCAP to stretch the value of the contribution.

* To apply for a grant from the fund, phone OlyCAP at 360-452-4726 (Clallam County) or 360-385-2571 (Jefferson County).

* If you have any questions about the fund, contact John Brewer, Peninsula Daily News editor and publisher, at 360-417-3500.

How to donate

A gift of any size is welcome.

Peninsula Home Fund has never been a campaign of heavy hitters.

If you can contribute only a few dollars, please don’t hesitate because you think it won’t make a difference.

Every gift makes a difference, regardless of its size.

New contributions

The following are contributions received between Nov. 23 and Nov. 28 — thank you very much for making a difference in the lives — and futures — of your neighbors:

* Jan McIlroy, Sequim, $50.

* Grant and Wenonah Sharpe, Port Ludlow, $50.

* Chris Olson, Port Townsend, $30.

* Geri Schmitt, Port Angeles, $50, in honor of Cathy Bauman.

* Monterra Homeowners Association, Sequim, $93.25 from recycling aluminum cans turned in by residents during the year.

* Mr. and Mrs. Willard Muller, Port Angeles, $100.

* Dolores Mangano, Port Angeles, $50, in memory of Jim.

* Park View Villa Residents, Port Angeles, $400.

Many thanks also to these donors (amount of donation private):

* Discount Cabinets of Washington, Sequim.

* Dale and Nathalia Doran, Port Angeles, in memory of Ruth and Loveday.

* Robert H. Redding, Sequim, in honor of Peg.

* William M. Waddell, Port Angeles, in memory of L.P. Rassmussen.

* Eleanor Thornton, Forks, in memory of Cyrus E. Maxfield.

* Lyle P. Lyster Sr., Port Angeles, in memory of Carrie Lynn Lyster.

* Tom and Peggy Ryan, Sequim, in honor of Diego and Isabel Armijo.

* Bonnie Mills, Port Angeles; “from a Park View G’ma.”

* Kathleen Kennedy, Port Angeles, in honor of H.S. Kennedy

* Camille R. Lewis, Sequim, in honor of Skyler, Carson and Jacob.

* Tony and Sandy Cortez, Port Angeles.

* Don and Gwen Schreiner, Sequim.

* Doris L. Cromwell, Sequim.

* Dave and Kath Gronning, Port Angeles.

* Mr. and Mrs. James W. Quinn, Port Angeles.

* C. V. and Sue Tondreau, Sequim.

* Joel and Nancy Magisos, Sequim.

* Randy and Kim Lemon, Port Angeles.

* Dean C. Rowland, Sequim.

* Thomas A. Mort, Sequim.

* Tim and Teri Cummings, Sequim.

* Keith and Fran Wollen, Port Angeles.

* Joanne Peterson, Sequim.

* Charles and Donna Brown, Port Angeles.

* Bee Wiegman, Port Angeles.

* Charlotte Petersen, Port Angeles.

* Jerry and Beth Culhane, Carlsborg.

* Ray and Kelly Putman, Sequim.

* Ben and Kay Lonn, Forks.

Many thanks also to these donors who requested anonymity:

* Port Angeles, $1,000.

* Port Angeles, $500.

* Forks, $300, in memory of Olive King.

* Port Townsend, $125. “We appreciate your sponsoring this worthwhile project. Thank you.”

* Sequim, $50, in memory of Claudette Janik.

* Port Angeles, $100, in memory of Ken Hicks.

* Sequim, $100, in memory of Jennings Johnson.

* Port Angeles, $200, in memory of Charlene B. Smith.

* Sequim, $100, in memory of Larry.

* Sequim, $100.

* Sequim, $50.

* Port Ludlow, $20.

* Port Angeles, $50.

* Port Angeles, $25.

* Sequim, $100.

* Port Angeles, $50.

* Port Angeles, $100.

* Sequim, $50.

* Port Angeles, $50.

* Port Angeles, $150.

* Port Townsend, $30.

* Port Angeles, $100.

* Sequim, $100.

* Port Angeles, $50.

* Sequim, $25.

* Sequim, $100.

* Port Angeles, $100.

* Port Angeles, $100.

* Port Angeles, $20.

* Port Angeles, $150.

—————-

Handwriting can be hard to decipher at times. Please report any errors in this list to John Brewer, 360-417-3500; john.brewer@peninsuladailynews.com. Our sincerest appreciation again to our donors.

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