Lacey, Wash. -- Early Monday morning, December 3rd, Thomas Kimball, a 75-year-old resident of Lewis County, awoke to find water rushing into his house. In one hour, his house was surrounded by 4 feet of water, and 6 inches covered his living room rug. In 8 hours, he had 9 ? inches inside. With water rushing by on the road outside - literally a river - Tom was stranded in his house until he was rescued on Thursday.
Now, like so many other flood victims in Washington, Tom has been shoveling mud out of his house and tearing up carpeting and particle board flooring - working at the long, grueling task of putting his life back together again.
Tom has received an overwhelming amount of help on that often-disheartening journey. Ten people from the LDS Church worked all day cleaning out mud, two electricians donated their time for two days, and workers from the airport across the road, who had lots of problems of their own, helped him in many ways.
His biggest surprise has been the help he received from FEMA. Like many flood victims, he was leery of working with the government, worried about filling out the application and wondering if anything would come of it. However, he quickly received a grant from FEMA, which has been an important boost for him on the road to recovery.
"I couldn't believe how helpful they were," said Tom. "They were really concerned about me ? which was refreshing." He was surprised, because they weren't local people, who might be expected to help their neighbors. "They came from all over the country," he said.
He tells his friends who are worried about registering because of all the forms, "Just talk to them! FEMA will pick your brains and guide you through everything."
Every case is different, so not everyone will receive the same grant from FEMA. But FEMA will work to provide every applicant with all the assistance they are eligible for.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.