Neighbor needs help after storm damage

At approximately 3 AM Wednesday Nov. 27th our little area of Bigfork/Ferndale was hit with unprecedented winds. Power was knocked out by fallen trees on some streets for over 3 days. 

This fundraiser is to help one particular neighbor, Jerry Ott, on Wolf Creek Drive. Jerry is a former plumber by trade. Due to multiple back injuries he was forced to stop working 10 years ago. Since that time he has been living off his savings. He does not qualify for disability nor is he of age for social security benefits. 2 years ago, Jerry was forced to cancel his homeowners insurance policy due to the costs. His home was built in 1978 and he's doing what he can on a very fixed income to maintain it.

During the early morning hours of November 27th, Jerry was asleep in his bed when an approximately 100 year old tree fell onto his house directly above his bed. He woke to a loud crash and his bed shuddered as branches punctured the ceiling, striking his bed which cause drywall and insulation to fall on top of him. Fortunately Jerry was not injured. His house however, was not so lucky. Another neighbor was able to use his tractor to remove the tree from Jerry's roof revealing a large hole and at least 3 broken roof trusses. The drywall ceiling inside of his bedroom was broken and has been wedged back up with a screw driver. 

Due to the age of is house, the fireplace is rarely used out of concerns for his safety. Jerry also has a 41 year old radiant heating system which he also has grave concerns about using. Because of these 2 factors, Jerry has become accustomed to using individual space heaters to provide heat during NW Montana winters. Now there is a huge hole in the roof exposing the interior of the home to the outside elements. 

At this time Jerry has been able to make temporary repairs in an effort to keep moisture and snow out. Jerry is hoping to "make it through winter" and doesn't know how he is going to afford a more permanent solution come spring/summer (whenever Mother Nature allows for repairs). He has moved into another bedroom, however, there is concern that the snow load could further damage the roof this winter. 

A couple of us neighbors are trying to raise funds to assist Jerry with the estimated cost of these repairs. Anything you can offer to help Jerry would be greatly appreciated and all donations are being directly deposited into his account. 

High winds topple trees into homes 
High winds knock out power to Bigfork & Ferndale residents 
Wind storm knocks out power for thousands in valley 

Before Tree Removal

After Tree Removal

Damage to 20 + year old roof

1 tarp and a piece of plywood is all that protects Jerry from the elements outside

Roof separated from structure

The ceiling above the bed. (notice drywall near back wall has broken apart where a branch came through the ceiling onto Jerry's bed).


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Fundraising team (3)

Michelle Martino 
Bigfork, MT
Gerald Ott 
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