One year after flood of 2019

Those of us who were in the Custer area last year on Friday, Aug. 2, will never forget the rainstorm that started building up in the Upper French Creek watershed area northwest of town that afternoon. The subsequent seven inches of rain resulted in a flash flood of epic proportions that built up at West Dam and flowed like a raging river through town on Washington Street and beyond to the east.
It resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in infrastructure damage to county roads and bridges and residential structures all along French Creek. Thankfully, there were no major injuries or lives lost. The community, led by a handful of downtown business people, immediately sprung into action to raise money for residents adversely impacted by the flood.
A total of $16,800 was collected in jars placed throughout the community and at a fundraiser at The Custer Beacon. The community came together to help those with water-damaged homes. 
A subsequent direct mail drive raised $6,000 by the newly-organized Custer County Long Term Recovery Group (CCLTRG). The more formal group elected officers and formed commitees to seek more funds and handle the disbursement of funds for those in need.
A Custer High School senior project raised $700 for flood victims at a well-attended community spagetti dinner. Then the grants started coming in: $27,000 from Catholic Family Services, $15,000 from Lutheran Family Services and $5,000 from Custer Ministerial Alliance. Total funds raised was $70,500.
Total expenses to date are $43,650 and includes payments for building/repairs to 13 families and mold inspections for four homes. Expenses for two remaining cases are estimated to be $6,600 and will be wound up this month. This means there will be about $20,250 available for any future disaster immediate needs and will be retained by the CCLTRG committee headed by Jill Kettle. Financial figures for this article were furnished by committee treasurer Laurie Arthur.
Some may wonder why it took so long to get money for repairs into the hands of affected flood victims. In order to do it right, the CCLTRG had to be set up with committees like the Disaster Case Management, headed up by Pam Power. This committee took applications and evaluated the needs of each applicant and coordinated payments and worked with the Volunteer Construction Management Committee co-chaired by Bob Reich and Keith Glover.
The CCLTRG will be able to take care of future individual needs, as it did the for the past year, while the county and city restored roads, bridges and parks. It’s a win-win situation for all and it is good to know applicants for assistance have finally been taken care of.
It’s been a year of recovery that has flown by, and it’s good to know it is finally coming to an end.

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