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Rebuilding After a Devastating Flood

December 4, 2015

During the first week of September 2013, Colorado was warm and dry, too dry. Beverly and Thomas’s Denver suburb yard was parched. An impending flood may have been the farthest thing from their mind.

And then, on September 11, it began to rain – a heavy, drenching, continuous downpour. Three days later, Beverly and Thomas went to church, where Thomas has been the assistant pastor for 30 years and Beverly directs the choir. They didn’t let rain damper their weekly routine.

But when the couple arrived back home, they discovered that a leak in a bedroom ceiling had turned into a flood, totally destroying the room and everything in it. A large section of the living room ceiling caved in, flooding the entire area and soaking rooms on the lower level.

Despite spending what they could to repair their home, Beverly and Thomas’s living environment was still unacceptable and unsafe. The poorly patched roof was leaking badly; insulation had been removed but never replaced so the couple spent two winters in bone-chilling cold. Their heating bills were astronomical.

Homeowners Beverly and Thomas express their gratitude to the Charter team at a Charter our Community-Rebuilding Together event in Denver, Colorado

Homeowners Beverly and Thomas express their gratitude to the Charter team

A Positive Spirit

The devastation could have dampened their spirit. But it didn’t.

Married more than 40 years, Beverly and Thomas have lived in Denver most of their lives, raised four children and have 15 grandchildren. Thomas, a truck driver for 25 years, suffered a crushed spinal cord in a motorcycle accident. That he can walk is a miracle.

Beverly has lived a life of service to others including time as an AmeriCorps volunteer. She was a mechanical designer for 10 years and then worked with Denver Urban Ministries helping others find jobs until major orthopedic problems prohibited her ability to get around.

Meeting the Challenge

This past October, two years after their horrific flood, Charter our Community and Rebuilding Together Metro Denver worked together to make Beverly and Thomas’s home safe and healthy again.

With cold weather approaching, 20 Charter volunteers stepped forward, feeling the need for urgency and worked at a fast clip. Loose boards on the ramp to the front door were not only repaired, but painted, along with a wooden bench in the yard.

Grading along the front of the home was repaired and mulched. Inside, bathrooms got new ADA compliant fixtures and showers were cleaned and caulked. The roof was repaired and new drywall was installed.

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(L-R) Charter our Community volunteers Tom and Travis suit up to install insulation

Tom Chiang, Charter Director of Video Products and Travis Taylor, Charter Field Operations Engineer, slipped into protective garb and crawled into the very small opening leading from the garage into the attic. They were about to do something neither had ever done before – installing insulation — with help from a professional from Rebuilding Together.

Our house has finally turned back into a home.

“It was hot, difficult work in a challenging space, but seeing Thomas’s and Beverly’s faces throughout the day was incredibly rewarding on its own,” said Tom. “They were so grateful and appreciative of the assistance we provided, that’s all that really matters. Doing it with coworkers just made it that much more special.”

Tim Brooks, Charter Network Inventory Engineer, spent most of the day tackling difficult plumbing jobs. “It really helps to be able to see and meet the people you are helping out. We couldn’t have asked for a more grateful couple. At the end of the day, you know you helped make a difference in someone’s life.”

At the end of the day, as she and Thomas thanked the volunteers, tears welled up in Beverly’s eyes. “There are those who have less, I always remind my children,” Beverly said. “Our house has finally turned back into a home.”