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Family, friends rally to help flood victims

GoFundMe account raises money for Florence area family who lost everything

Staff writer

When July 4 flooding destroyed Loretta Looney’s home the community rallied around her.

“When things like this happen you depend on friends and family to be there for you and help you rebuild,” she said.

Donations online raised $2,120. Looney said Flood insurance was too expensive for her.

“Poor people have poor ways,” she said. “It’s not because that’s the way they want to be. I’ve caught a lot of flack about not having flood insurance, but I was raised to live within my means, and my means doesn’t include having insurance.”

The house isn’t a complete loss, but much of the inside needs to be demolished for rebuilding, said Looney, who lives on 140th Rd. near US-77.

“We’re not far from zero,” she said. “The structure is still there, but the entire downstairs had to be gutted. Everything from my waist-level down was ruined. All the furniture, beds, appliances — all that is gone.”

Looney said she recently went back to work after caring for her father who was stricken with Alzheimer’s.

“We were down to one income,” she said. “Things like that weren’t in my budget. When you have to take care of a family member 24/7, you just can’t work.”

Looney said she tried to get homeowner’s insurance in the past, but was told having large animals on the property was a problem.

“I don’t know what difference that makes to my house,” she said. “I don’t have the cattle inside.”

One person volunteered a camper for Looney and her family to stay in at Marion County Lake, but the family chose to stay in an open rental house they own.

“It was only open two weeks when all this happened,” she said. “It wasn’t even cleaned, but it was open.”

In addition to online donations, Marion resident Misty Brewer organized a fill up the truck event and a raffle.

The event included a range of items, from cards and money to furniture that had to be put in a storage unit.

“I think it works well because you’re able to have one controlled location,” she said.

Even with Looney’s situation, she is helping those around her.

“I lost a couple things like couches, and Loretta has been helping me with that, which is very nice,” Allan Steele said. “I really appreciate her for that.”

Steele didn’t receive the worst damage, but said he was heavily impacted by the goodwill of Looney and fellow flood victim Monte Magathan, who also had a house gutted by flooding due heavy rains and opened gates at Marion Reservoir.

“I think I fared pretty well compared to some of them,” he said. “I’m still cleaning the mud out, but I only got four inches in my house. They took three to four feet.”

Last modified July 24, 2019

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