Their home and cars were destroyed. Jeff's treasured boat was driven ashore and damaged the neighbor's property. Pictures, videos "“ so many of the things we treasure beyond money"”gone. They've lived their life in an uproar, without so many of the creature comforts we take for granted for a year now. And imagine all the time they've spent cleaning up, trying to save what they could and avert more loss. Then there's all the seemingly never ending bullshit with adjustors, insurance companies, FEMA, politicians, etc. All that aggravation, the what-if's in the middle of the night. Is it any wonder they're exhausted ? Dishearted? Fed up ? Who wouldn't be ?
If you've lived through a fire as I have you discover that the material things you've lost get replaced and that once you've rebuilt that sense of displacement goes away. But for Jeff & Donna it's been a never ending nightmare. Insurance will cover only about 40 % of what it's going to cost to rebuild "“ never mind that now he needs to raise the structure of his home 7 feet for it to be an insurable and thus a saleable property . Plus as I recall the cars weren't reimbursed by insurance or FEMA either. What was it FEMA said ? Car still driveable ? Yeah right, FEMA morons. Maybe in the movies. But in the real world you can't drive a burned out wreck of a car like Steve Martin & John Candy did in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. In any case, they've suffered huge out of pocket losses that most of us -- including Jeff & Donna -- aren't in a position to just write a check for. But maybe we can help.
In Jeff's own words, here's a taste of what they've endured this past year: "[First] it's a process of cleaning a complete mess....then trying to find all your memories sorting through dirty salt water ....to moving and reorganizing yourself ....then the calls to fema, insurance companies (cars , house, boat) ...dealing with people wanting to sue me because my boat went through their house .... [then] the town issues me a violation for my shed and gazebo for the immediate removal or demolition "“ we had just bought the house "“ it was supposed to have been dealt with). Unbelievable how you can just lose everything and yet the town had the balls to leave a violation notice in my mailbox --which you could barely reach with all the debris from my home in the way ....to dealing with FEMA agents that need sensitivity training ...to new flood maps being drawn for my area that make it mandatory to lift our house 7ft or pay $10, 000 to 20, 000 a year in flood insurance. And if the house isn't lifted a bank won't loan money against the home. If I let it go in foreclosure I will lose everything , the down payment , my credit and the chance to own another house in my lifetime....
He also wondered where all the charitable donations, proceeds from benefit concerts, government grant money, etc., has gone as it appears that no one in the neighborhood has seen any of that help. They all feel abandoned.
Well, Jeff in our little corner of the world we want you to know that we've seen your suffering and we're tired of averting our eyes. WE WANT TO HELP YOU AND DONNA REBUILD YOUR LIVES. We know you're proud people, but we want to help. Besides, you know that old saying: "There but for the grace of God, go I" We shudder to think about it, but this could've been anyone of us.
My own gift reflects the many happy hours I've spent in Jeff's company growing up. Plus I should've gotten off my ass a long time ago. Forgive me, Jeff. I'm an idiot.
Again, whatever you can give would be wonderful. And maybe like me, it'll make you feel a little less helpless and otherwise at the mercy of events in a world gone crazy.
Jeff, message me privately and I'll give you the info on how to arrange for transfers of donated funds into your account. Or you can have a check mailed. In any case, it's money intended for you so you should have full access so that you have use of what comes in as it comes in.
Thanks for reading. And feel free to re-post, folks. Best regards, Mark Commins
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