Marcantel family flood help
***Added to comply with GoFundMe requirements: I am Kenneth Marcantel, a retired Navy Master Chief and disabled veteran. My two teenage boys and I live in Denham Springs, Louisiana after losing their beautiful mother in an untimely and unexpected death 5 years ago. We will be using donations to repair our home after the August 2016 flood.***
First of all, thank you for taking the time to read this. Second; any of you who know me probably understand how mortified I am to ask for a handout, but I don’t see any way around it. The last five years seem to have been a series of blows that get sequentially worse. And at this point, the boys and I would give anything if their late mother could be back here to help make us feel better, which she was exceedingly good at. But, we’ll have to endure this setback like all the rest. I will make sure we do; because they are worth it.
We need help… like so many around us; the flood here heavily impacted us in South Louisiana. Nearly four feet of water took everything we own. Just like everyone around us, we didn’t have flood insurance because we weren’t in a flood zone. The whole thing wasn’t supposed to happen. It seemed impossible that we could ever take any water in our home, and certainly not nearly four feet!
But, here I am… a retired Master Chief and single dad with a string of Health issues and disabilities that make it impossible for me to fix the house myself… and waiting on one of the contractors to find enough time to give us an estimate. It doesn’t take much to figure out that it’ll take nearly $100,000.00 to replace most of our belongings and restore the house. FEMA has helped, but that will barely get the walls back up. My sister and brother-in-law have helped the most by taking us in, because we would otherwise be in a shelter like most of our friends. And we found friends we didn’t realize we had as others came in within days to help gut the house because they all understood how dangerous it would be for my youngest son if mold developed before we could get it dried out. We can never adequately thank any of them enough.
But thanks to our friends and family, I think we were able to clear the house and strip it in time. Soon the house will be dry enough to safely rebuild, and I know that I’ll have to seek a loan to finance reconstruction. I’ll do what I have to, but making payments on that kind of loan will destroy us financially because I just bought the house 2.5 years ago. Our first home, after being professional renters for the 22 years I was on active duty.
Thank you to anyone that can help, from the bottom of our hearts. I’m going to be busy trying to take care of the details, so please accept my apology if I can’t get back to answer any questions.
I’m still having trouble sleeping. It seems like I keep replaying our evacuation from the house each night. On the bright side, the house is dry enough to start building. I’ve spent the last few days endlessly running back and forth to Baton Rouge hardware stores, which is likely to continue since most of the local businesses here won’t reopen until late fall.
I’ll spend tomorrow getting things settled for the boys to return to school on Monday. That’s a day that I will try to avoid driving anywhere. Traffic is already so bad, and driver courtesy is at an all time low. Adding busses and student vehicles that are traversing long distances to reach alternate schools during two shifts will be a recipe for tragedy. Just today I was cursed out by a meth-head in a car full of kids, run out of my lane by a ghetto hoopty, and hemmed up into panic braking by some little princess wearing headphones in a car that apparently doesn’t have working signal lights or mirrors. And that was just in 30 minutes. I know people are stressed out, but I sure wish everyone would just take a breath and slow down. (I know… it sounds weird coming from me)
Monday, I’ll try to get in line with a contractor, pack the last of our stuff into the attic, and try to finish the last electrical work so the walls can go back up. Oh, and tear out the tiles in the main room.
Wish me luck…
We’ve moved back to the property, thanks in huge part to my sister and brother-in-law loaning us their new travel trailer. (Cue all the trailer jokes from anyone that’s known me for more than 10 minutes). It’s a bit tight, but with the increased access to the house we are able to push the drying process to maximum efficiency. Once the OSB falls below 12-13% moisture, we should be safe to get a contractor for the walls and insulation. But, that will be a whole new headache, which will have to wait as we watch the walls dry.
I met with the SBA inspector today. I should hear their answer within another week or so. At least the interest rate sounded good… In the meantime, I’ll take a couple days off for a medical appointment tomorrow, and High School orientation part 2 on Thursday. Noah’s school will be sharing a campus with Live Oak (PM schedule) for the duration, so they’ll all have to learn a new campus before they start next Monday. Levi’s school is projected to open back up for regular hours, which is nothing short of a miracle. The water that flooded us first swept across that campus like a torrent since it is less than 1/10th mile away. I’ll be amazed if they can actually pull that one off. Denham Springs High will be a much harder task.
I’ve realized that there is a serious mountain of unanswered messages that have built up on Facebook before all this happened. I’ll try to get through and answer them, but it will take a huge amount of time, which I don’t have right now. I apologize for letting it get that bad, but I simply dislike Facebook that much. It was particularly good to hear from my old friend Bill Colson the other day! It was great to hear your voice, and your help offer touched us all. Perhaps we can catch up again under better circumstances after all this mess is over.
Thanks again for your help, thoughts and well-wishes. We feel truly blessed.
I’ll start looking for more contractors this morning and see if I can tackle the wiring and more clean up. I think we’ll be able to move the travel trailer over today, so I can get more done in the cooler morning hours. The afternoons get really hot outside.
Thanks again to everyone! Your help means the world to us.
Glad you're ready to rebuild. I know how those sleepless nights go...after we flooded, I would wake up sweating because I thought I heard rain hitting the roof. I still struggle with anxiety over the weather, especially when we get heavy rains at night. It is what it is, stay strong. I'll donate some more to your cause next month. Take care!