Community Rallies To Help Repair Veteran's Flooded Home
When they heard the family's "dream home" was ruined, neighbors teamed up to show their support.
When Brian Willard and his family moved into their dream home in west central Washington state last year, they weren't expecting disaster to strike.
But that's just what happened last week when rising waters from the nearby Nisqually River reached their neighborhood.
The waters were never supposed to get to Willard's home, but when city officials released water from the LaGrande Dam upstream to manage the area's precipitation levels, the high tide created a surge of water that flooded dozens of homes and businesses in the Nisqually Valley.
Willard, a 13-year Army veteran with two tours in Afghanistan, was injured in combat and now gets around using a wheelchair. The single-story house he bought last year has every accommodation for him and his family to live comfortably. When he returned to his home after the flood waters receded and saw that every room had been flooded, he was heartbroken.
"It's devastating," Willard told KOMO News. "Emotionally, we're trying to process this."
Since the home isn't located in a flood zone, insurance won't cover the damage, and with Willard's condition, doing any major renovations himself is out of the question.
Luckily, the people in Willard's community have his back.
When word got out about what happened, around 20 people showed up to show their support and help the family clean up. Friends, neighbors and even some strangers helped rip up carpet in Willard's home and carried out ruined furniture.
"We are so grateful, and it was amazing to see people coming together and helping other people in a time of need, in a time of disaster," Willard said, with tears in his eyes.
Willard's mother Sharon Parker started a GoFundMe for the family to help raise money for home repairs and to replace the many items that were ruined by the flooding. So far almost $6,000 has been raised thanks to 59 donors.
While there's still a good amount of work left to do, Willard is optimistic that his family will have their dream home once again, thanks to the generous support of his community.
"It's going to get done nail by nail, sheetrock by sheetrock," he said.
You can contribute to the Willard family's GoFundMe campaign by clicking here.