Last night, without much warning, a dam failure resulted in Wixom Lake spilling into the Tittabawassee River causing flood and destruction in it's path. I was forced to evacuate my family - and at the same time, checked in with my son Richie to know if he is able to pack his family and leave for safety. He had already packed a few things and evacuated for the night. This video shows the result of that surge of water the follow morning (5/20/20). Nearly everything was forced to be left behind. Richie's family home is a total loss. Car is lost. Household belongs lost.
With 2 small children and a third due within a couple weeks, this is a devastating circumstance to wake up to. We're grateful Richie, Samantha, Peyton, Evelyn, and baby are safe, but there will be many difficult challenges ahead for them.
It is not something we ever imagined needing to do, but are facing this new reality knowing we cannot do it alone. We would be forever grateful to any assistance that could be shared to this young family during this especially challenging time.
We have a crib, a highchair and a carseat for the new baby coming. The bigger problem is that we do not have enough room for very much. We are able to accommodate them at our home for a temporary measure but our first priority is to get them into a new home.
We appreciate any help whether monetary or otherwise. The girls may be in need of clothes Peyton 7/8 and Evelyn is in 24 months. They are also down to 1 car which is a struggle in itself. We would love to be able to help them onto their feet without asking for help but we cannot do this ourselves unfortunately. We truly appreciate every little donation.
Update #3 July 11, 2020
We feel so blessed with all of the generous donations for our family. It is time to look forward to the future! Samantha received a job offer at Eastman Animal Clinic. Richie will be working with a merchandising company. Finding childcare will be a step to take at some point soon. A wonderful friend of Samantha's had an aunt that donated a full size van which will work great for a temporary measure. Someday they may be able to get a minivan to accomodate the whole family comfortably. They also received a generous donation of a couch and tables from a kind gentleman from Ann Arbor.
I uploaded some beautiful family photos from a session donated by Samantha's friend Katie, Photography by Missie did a beautiful job for our family. We highly recommend her business!!
Sydney is the happiest little baby. She is growing fast! Evie is enjoying her summer with as much outdoor time as she can get. She loves swimming, playing with dogs and going to the beach. Peyton has stayed very busy as well with riding her new bike that she won from Meridian Elementary. She tries to get as much outdoor time as well! It is nice to know that the girls won't feel the harsh effects of this flood tragedy.
Again, thank you so much for your help. Each and every donation is recognized and appreciated!
Update #2 May 31, 2020
I have been wanting to fit in an update but we have been so incredibly busy! We have been busy in the best ways though which we are so thankful for.
Baby Sydney was born May 28 at 12:45. She is beautiful and perfect...we could not ask for more. Samantha did an amazing job with the birth and is healing quickly. They were ready to come home the same day as the hospital cafeteria was closed and no visitors were allowed in due to COVID-19. It made things a bit more difficult as if they were not already stressed. What a time to have a baby!!!! Who knew??
As Samantha was in labor that morning, Dave received a phone call from a friend telling him they had a rental home available for the family if they were interested. It was a very awkward time to ask them because Sam was in labor but we sent a text Richie and Sam to see if they were interested in staying in this home instead of our home temporarily. We received a text that said "Sam is dilated to a 6" and "yes we would love to stay at the home". Texts I will never forget. Dave and I started packing up the car with items that would help them get started in the home and headed over. My niece Amanda worked so hard to clean the home to get ready for our family to move in right away. We were so grateful for this because time was precious. The kids were released from the hospital the next day. They were so pleased to have a place they could call their own. We are so grateful for our friends and family that could make all of this happen. They were able to get a new mattress for themselves. It's delivery was rerouted from our home to the new home. It was all very exciting for them to have a place of their own to keep it. The girls have cribs and bed and dressers for their rooms and Aunt Sue donated a kitchen table.
The previous home in Sanford was demolished. It was a very emotional moment knowing their keepsakes were still there. Most material items can be replaced but the little things will be gone. Samantha hurts at the loss of Evie's footprints from the hospital and her first outfit she wore home. Those are the things that hurt the most. Healing will happen day by day. New memorabilia will be created as the girls grow. They will grow stronger together as a family.
We are in the process of looking for a minivan to replace the car that was literally tossed in a dumpster. Sam will be job searching as a veterinary technician after some maternity time home with the new baby so they will be in need of a second car at that time.
We could not be more grateful for your donations. The plan is to look into purchasing a home as soon as they are able to. This time of unemployment will delay the process but they will get back on track soon. Thank you from us all Please look at the updated pictures of the new baby girl
Update #1 May 22, 2020
Richie and Sam visited their lost home this morning. They were able to get into the house to only find everything covered in mud and muck with a strong sewage odor. There is nothing salvagable. It obviously has brought them to tears. They just purchased a bassinett, double stroller and beautiful matching clothes for the girls. They were able to walk away with their engraved wedding champagne flutes and that is all. The girls are lost without their favorite blankets and toys. They just want to sleep in their own beds. They were expecting delivery of a couple of last minute things for the new baby. Now they don't know how it will be delivered since there is not house there anymore...there is nothing!
We have received so many wonderful monetary donations for them. We are so very thankful to each and everyone that donated or considered doing so. We were able to get a little planning done today. We will need to just prepare then wait for the new baby girl to make her arrival. They have a roof over their head whether it is at our home or Sam's mother's home. We will start doing some house hunting soon. Until then we will just get a lot of family time with our littles and snuggle time with a new baby soon.
Again, I thank everyone for the generous donations! They kids are overwhelmed and in tears over the generosity from everyone. It will take time but they will soon get to start new again.
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