Red Cross Flood Assistance In Ottawa County “A Miracle”

Posted at 6:35 PM, Apr 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-25 18:35:52-04

ROBINSON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Water in yards and basements is still reality in Robinson Township as flood waters in West Michigan begin to recede.

Now help is here.

The Red Cross is in the township – and traveling all around Ottawa County – handing out clean-up kits to anyone who needs them, doing what they can to help people get back to normal lives.

“Oh, wow…wonderful,” Suszanne Michalek says as she sees the contents of a clean-up kit handed to her out of the back of one of the Red Cross relief trucks.

She embraces Roy Powers, one of two workers at the pick-up spot on Thursday.

Michalek has felt the full force of this flood.

“I’ve already taken out 102 gallons of water in my basement and I still have another six inches to go yet,” she says, “so it’s been real rough.”

She doesn’t mince words when describing her feelings about the Red Cross efforts.

“This is a miracle here,” Michalek says. “It’s wonderful that you can get stuff like that free.”

Stuff like mops, brooms, scrub brushes, and cleaning chemicals – the essentials for building a flood recovery base for anyone in an affected area.

“It’s been very tiring,” Linda Portoluri says. Her neighborhood has dealt with flood water all week. “We’ve been up night and day pumping water out. We’ve got two dehumidifers running, two Wet Vacs running, a surface pump running.”

“It’s awful,” Debra Buitendorp adds.

“Basically been running 16-hour shifts cleaning my basement,” Byron Buitendorp says. “Mopping, got three sump pumps running in there trying to keep the water out. It’s a constant fight.”

A fight that now has the helping hands of the Red Cross.

“We’re seeing people – neighbors coming together, pitching in, volunteers just stopping and helping people who have been affected and helping them start the clean-up process,” Powers says.

“We donated in other crisis to the Red Cross when they’ve had tornadoes or hurricanes,” Portoluri says.

“It’s just nice to see they’re here for us too.”