The Essenpreis' Flood Recovery

If you know Ron and Rita Essenpreis (my parents), you know what kind and generous people they are, and how they are always the first to offer a helping hand in time of need.

Unfortunately, their time of need now is upon us.

To say Mom and Dad have had a string of bad luck lately is a bit of an understatement...

- Dad has been fighting Small Cell Lung Cancer for the last 15 months, and continues to battle it through numerous setbacks. He's currently undergoing a clinical trial at the University of Chicago, and while things have been fairly positive, he recently received some more bad news and is amidst reviewing options as to how to proceed. (If you'd like to follow his journey, you can learn more at: ).

- Three weeks ago, they had to replace a broken refrigerator, as well as a dishwasher that decided to stop working.

- Two weeks ago, their garage door broke, and though Dad was able to repair it himself, it was challenging and fairly expensive to do so.

- Last week, their washing machine broke and needed repairs to the tune of $400+ (which sadly was rendered a waste as of yesterday).

Which brings us to yesterday...

- Mom and Dad were dealt an extremely emotional and physical blow thanks to a massive storm that resulted in 8 feet of water in their basement (destroying literally everything they had downstairs), with additional damage to their deck and shed (both of with were handmade by Dad).

If you don’t know, my Mom can be somewhat meticulous at times, and had saved and organized most anything and everything important from both mine and my sisters’ childhood as well as her own. Photos, books, toys, childhood clothes, dinnerware, artwork, mementos, handmade halloween costumes… essentially her Grandchildren’s playroom… everything lost to this flood (not to mention a significant amount of Dad’s cancer medications which were being stored downstairs).

Side note... for those who don't know... a similar flood happened to our family back in 1986, resulting in total loss of personal and sentimental items at that time (my Star Wars toys!!!). As a result, the neighborhood developers created a water retention/drainage area behind their house to handle any sort of potential storm issues. Yesterday, that retention/drainage plan failed, resulting in the 2 feet of standing water (!) in their back and side yard… most of which which ultimately ran into the basement, destroying 30+ years of carefully stored and organized memories. The deck/screen porch retained water damage from underneath, and there’s no telling what consequences that may result in, and the storage shed was partially lifted off its foundation in one corner, (I’m not certain at the moment if that can be salvaged). Truly beyond words.

However… the real blow comes not with the memories and “stuff” that was lost, but in the fact that their insurance is barely going to pay for the cost of clean up and damage restoration.

Here’s just a short list of bigger ticket items that were lost… quite a few of which will need to be replaced (and essentially without the funds to do so):

- Furnace
- Hot Water Heaters (they had two 250 gallon tanks)
- Freezer
- Refrigerator/Freezer
- Beverage/Mini Refrigerator
- Washing Machine (recently repaired)
- Dryer
- Treadmill
- Exercise Bike
- King-Size bed
- Vintage Furniture
- Riding Lawn Mower
- Push Lawn Mower
- Snow Blower
- Power Washer

In essence… they lost a lot, and despite having friends and family here to help through this challenging time, they are really needing a boost financially.

We’re not expecting to try and replace everything… just enough to get back on track after the restoration has been completed. It’s a long road ahead, and we very much appreciate anything you can offer to help two very good people in their time of need.

From the bottom of my heart… thank you for taking the time to read this and for any contribution you can help make… it’s truly appreciated… I hope we can return the favor someday soon.

Justin Essenpreis

These few photos don't really do it justice, but you get the gist:

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  • Brian Borchers 
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See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Justin Essenpreis 
Gurnee, IL
Rita Essenpreis