NEWINGTON, N.H. -- Michael Grant of Pelham, New Hampshire's experience with the flooding on May 12 would make most people at least a little cranky. But, he shows no sign of that. His voice has a happy tone even after the basement of his house was flooded with two feet of water.
Grant's split-level house located on Dutton Road has a brook that runs through the back of the property. The rain started coming down and just keep coming until Grant's property received 12 inches of rain. Normally, he would have had some water in his backyard after a heavy rain. However, for the first time since living in the house, he ended up with two feet of water in a fully-finished basement where he runs a janitorial cleaning service.
Grant, 49, and his wife, Ellen, have lived on Dutton Road for 24 years. The rest of the family living at the house includes their three children who all still attend school, and a cat called Smudge and a golden retriever named Hannah.
Grant said, "The flooding took my furnace. It took my office. I am self-employed. I lost a lot of equipment. I lost a lot." Grant went to www.fema.gov to apply for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"FEMA helped me out. I was pleased with what they did for me," said Grant. "I applied online the Friday before Memorial Day. The man from FEMA called me three days later and was at my house four days after I applied online. He was very organized and had a computer. He asked how high the water came up into the house and inspected the damage. Within a few days, money from FEMA was put directly into my checking account. You don't get that kind of service even in the private sector.
"We received $7,000 to help with the heating system, sheetrock, furniture, and bedding. We figured out we lost about $50,000. But FEMA is designed to make you safe, warm, and dry. It is to make sure you are secure. FEMA helped me out. I am pleased with the help I received."
The Grants are now living in the upstairs of the house while he works on repairing the walk-out basement level. He has removed the sheetrock in the water-damaged basement.
Prior to the flooding, Grant went to the local fire department and got sandbags and filled them with sand. He also turned off the power to the lower part of the house.
The day it flooded, the floodwaters reached the top of the above-ground pool outside. The wild ducks that usually dropped by the brook by the house even expanded their territory to the floodwater just outside the house.
"Hannah, our dog, loved the flood. She's a golden retriever and was she ever happy. The sun was shining after the rain stopped, and the water did not have much of a current. So she went swimming in the floodwater and chased the ducks. We tried to keep her out of the water but she thought it was great. It was bark, bark, bark, and quack, quack, quack until she got tired of chasing the ducks," said Grant
After the flood, his business was up and running again in a few days. He went to the local library and sent an e-mail to his customers that he had damage from the flooding and was now reopened for business. His eight part-time employees are back at work.
Grant offered this advice to persons registering for FEMA assistance, "Do it online. Don't do it on the phone. I had heard it is much quicker to apply for assistance online...and it worked for me.
Grant wrote FEMA a thank-you e-mail after he received assistance:
I would like to thank someone at FEMA for doing a great job here in New Hampshire after we had a foot of rain and flooding on May 12th."
"FEMA was at my house 3 days after I applied online. Money from FEMA was put into my checking account 3 days after that.
"The application process was simpl...