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Readstown, WI (WXOW) — It has been nearly one week since the Kickapoo River crested to historic levels in Readstown.
“It’s supposed to be our retirement home,” said Ellen Clason, a homeowner in Readstown who lost her home to flood damage.
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The safe haven for Ellen and Otto Clason will now likely be condemned after the Kickapoo River flooded into their home. Much of what was inside has been either carried away or deemed unusable, including the little things they say they previously took for granted.
“You don’t have anything that you can say,” Clason said. “My granddaughter ,she says, ‘Grandma, where’s my fruit snacks?’ I said, ‘Honey, they’re gone.’ But she goes, ‘They’re on the counter. They’re in the cupboard, in the bottom cupboard, grandma.’ They’re not there no more.”
The Clason’s have been keeping spreadsheets of the value of the items damaged or lost in the flooding, but they say items like a 150 year old cabinet from Norway, a family heirloom, does not have value that can be put into numbers. Despite their loss, the couple still considers themselves lucky, as they move as much as they can into their camper.
“We didn’t know where to start,” Clason said. “All we know is we are so grateful we have a roof over our head. There’s many that don’t.”
“We have 11 families that need houses, and we’ve found a couple so far,” said Chad Larson, president of the Village of Readstown. “But, there’s a lot more that needs to be found.”
Those devastated by the flooding say it has been community support that keeps them going in one of the worst times of their lives.
“We lost our grandson. He died two days before he was ten months old,” Clason said. “That’s the worst. This is number two.”
The couple says they do not believe they would have made it without the donations from others in the community. Clason says it is the basic needs like water and hot meals that make a big difference. She encourages those with extra space in their garage or storage units to consider lending some space to those trying to find a place for the items they salvaged from the flood.
Larson says those in Readstown displaced by the flooding range from single people to seven person families. If you have any rooms available or rental property in the area, Larson asks you to call the Readstown Municipal Building at 608-629-5627.