Community unites in wake of flooding crisis

Published 5:24 pm Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dr. Amy Grayson delivers supplies to a flooded Lousiana neighborhood via kayak in the wake of severe flooding to the area this past week.

Dr. Amy Grayson delivers supplies to a flooded Lousiana neighborhood via kayak in the wake of severe flooding to the area this past week.

Heavy rainfall and flooding have impacted thousands of people in communities across Louisiana, resulting in devastating property damage and death.

According to officials, 13 deaths have been confirmed as a result of storms and flooding.

Louisiana veterinarian Amy Grayson, daughter of Greenville resident Marylyn Grayson, experienced the devastation firsthand, as water rose nearly 2 feet above the second floor of her 2-level home.

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“The water was about 13-feet high from the ground,” Amy said.  Amy, who lives in Prairieville, a suburb located south of Baton Rouge called Ascension Parish, watched as her and her neighbors’ homes, cars, and all of their belongings disappeared beneath the overflowing Amite River.

“The water began to rise quickly and we all realized we had to get out.”

Amy said phone service

was spotty, but she was eventually able to reach a friend to help her evacuate her home.

Her friend arrived nearly 4 hours later in a canoe.  “When I saw the canoe I knew we wouldn’t have enough room for much, so I grabbed a duffle bag and left.  I realized later that that the items in the duffle bag were actually items I’d packed earlier for a beach trip, so the things inside weren’t much help.”

Amy said she and her friend made the 4-5 mile canoe ride to Highway 42 seeking safe ground.

“It was a long ride by canoe.  There were a few patches of dry spots along the way where we could walk the canoe, but there was so much water. There were people everywhere in boats and everyone just looked stunned.  We all knew we had to get in a boat and get out while we could.”

The next phone call Amy made was to her mother, Marylyn.  Amy’s primary concern was not for herself, but for the welfare of her friends and neighbors.

Marylyn did what any mother would do – she began to seek help for her daughter.

“The devastation is unbelievable,” Marylyn said.  “The need there is just so great.”

The first call Marylyn made was to her church, First United Methodist Church of Greenville, who in turn contacted other local churches and volunteers to assist gathering supplies for the flood victims.

Through the cooperation of local volunteers, the church was able to organize enough necessities to fill two truckloads and a trailer full of supplies, along with drivers to deliver the items.

Members of Fort Dale Academy’s football team were among many volunteers that helped load the trucks.  The school’s students also donated old backpacks to go along with other much needed supplies.

“Through everyone’s kindness we were able to gather so many supplies that we were able to share some of the items with the First United Methodist Church of Gonzales.  It’s amazing how people come together to help when tragedy strikes.”

“The items that were sent by people in Greenville were very helpful,” Amy said.  “They brought the right things and they’ve been put to good use.”