County News # 1Marshall County Commissioner Kurt Garner is serving as the Chairman of the Long Term Flood Recovery Committee.  During Monday’s County Council meeting, Garner and Linda Yoder, Executive Director of United Way of Marshall County and Director of the Long Term Flood Recovery Committee updated council members on the recovery process.

Garner said in response to the flood in February, “This committee was formed and their primary responsibility is to walk through the process of recovery with private property owners, not so much on the public side.”  He said case managers have met with the individuals affected and the committee is in the fundraising mode and coordinating volunteers. Garner said, “All this stuff is happening outside of the public eye.  While the flood waters have receded, most people don’t really see that there is a need and yet there is.”

Linda Yoder told the County Council about 250 homes were impacted by the flood. They were able to determine this with the help of Clyde Avery from Marshall County EMA, Homeland Security, and the Flood Management Response Team.  Yoder said about 50% of those 250 homeowners will be just fine on their own.  Another 25% will need some assistance to get back on their feet and the final 25% will need significant help to get back on track.  She said, “These families are living on the edge, paycheck to paycheck, just one event away from finding themselves in a place where they have a hard time recovering.  Hopefully we can keep those families out of poverty.”

Yoder said about 37% of those needing assistance are senior citizens.  They have also prioritized single parent families, those with disabilities, and noted there is a family with a loved one battling cancer struggling with flood relief.

Yoder told the County Council they have determined about $450,000 of unmet needs in Marshall County.  That’s after insurance, FEMA, applications for Small Business Association loans.  The committee will exhausted organization such as the USDA, Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army and the Red Cross before going to local assistance.

Garner said fundraising is underway and today about $60,000 has been raised.  He said there is a benefit concert in River Park Square this Saturday and they have created a Day of Giving focused on the faith community this Sunday.    He said, “The reality is, we are still going to be short.”

The financial need is so they will have materials on hand for volunteers from the Southern Baptist and Mennonite Relief who are committed to coming to Marshall County and helping.  Garner said, “If we don’t have the dollars to buy materials these organizations won’t come.”

The committee is looking at 78 homes that suffered either minor or major damage. As a percentage, Bremen had 13%, Argos 3%, Plymouth 44%, and the county with 40%.   Garner said while we thought this was primarily a Plymouth situation, it’s about equal.

He asked for up to $25,000 and noted that Plymouth will be asked to contribute too. The Council unanimously supported his request.