A Flood-Ravaged Community Needs Our Help


Most of us can remember hearing about the 10 inches of rain that fell near Roosevelt Lake at the beginning of September. What we didn't know was that the subdivision of Roosevelt Estates was hit by a wall of water up to 12 feet deep that demolished some homes and damaged others.

The damage, vastly underestimated by the Governor's office, was deemed too small-scale to declare the community a disaster area. This determination closed the door on any funds that could help the displaced people of Roosevelt.

It was a blow to the modest community made up of retirees, young families, and a few part-time residents. Natives of the area had never seen a flood of this scale, so many saw little reason to purchase flood insurance.

Turned away by the state and federal governments, given little compensation from their insurance companies, and plenty of lip service from politicians and government officials, the flood survivors of Roosevelt have every reason to be angry. Nonetheless, the tireless Roosevelt Recovery Team remains determined to turn every rock on behalf of those who were hit hard by the flood. Most of the recovery team members did not suffer major damage, but their neighbors and friends did. That is what pushes people like Velma Hodson, Bruce Bunch, and Lon Thiele to work, at times, 12 hours a day.

Bruce Rogers of the Salvation Army has been there to support the team since its formation.

John "Tony" Kumparak has put income-producing construction projects on hold so he can work for free repairing homes so families can move back.

Gila County may eventually have the means to at least buy a couple of the property owners out. Yet, like any government project, red tape and bureaucracy could keep people waiting for a long time.

Our neighbors to the south need our assistance. Since many homes were flooded, baseboards and floor coverings are desperately needed.

The Campaign Creek bed rose eight feet and those once looking down into the creek now look up at the bank. The Army Corps of Engineers has suggested that property owners can build small retaining walls to prevent further damage. Donations of concrete or cinder blocks, manpower and equipment would help get this project under way as more rains threaten homes.

Framing supplies, drywall, plumbing fixtures and bathroom and kitchen cabinets also are needed.

As with the Rodeo-Chediski Fire, residents of Rim country don't hesitate to come to the aid of those in need. We hope those able to donate will consider sending something down to Roosevelt.

The TV stations, politicians and government officials have come and gone. Flood survivors are all but forgotten. Let's not forget them.

If you would like to donate money or supplies to the Roosevelt recovery effort, contact Velma Hodson at (928) 467-2636, Lon Thiele at (928) 467-2260, or Lois Evans at (928) 467-2325, or deposit a tax-deductible cash donation in the Roosevelt Recovery Fund account at Wells Fargo Bank.

Cash donations can also be mailed to the Roosevelt Recovery Team at P.O. Box 663, Roosevelt, AZ 85545.

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