Cottonwood AZ (October 27, 2014) – Flooding during the monsoon season is a huge issue to Anna Sales, a 76 yr. old who lives alone in a Verde Heights housing development in Cottonwood, AZ. Since September 1993, a deluge of surface water — originating from both the side and front of Anna’s home — has flooded her home repeatedly and threatens the security of her home’s foundation.
The seesawing effect of severe droughts, which can contract the soil beneath the foundation and cause cracks, followed by deluges of rain during the monsoon season and rushing surface water, can threaten the security of a home’s foundation. The problem is, Anna wants to stay in her home yet she does not have the means to move and cannot afford to pay contractors to stem the flooding.
On September 4, 2014 Anna called the Amigos del Verde Valley Volunteer Coalition to request help with weed trimming after she read an article in the Cottonwood Journal Extra about the organization. When Amigos’ Director, Sherry Twamley, visited Anna’s home to survey the yard during Arizona’s rainy season, she immediately saw both the front and side of the elderly woman’s home had been flooded repeatedly, had been sandbagged to keep water out of the home without success, and realized there was an imminent danger to the foundation of the home from remnants of Hurricane Norbert which was expected to rise up from the Gulf of Mexico that evening.
Springing into action, Sherry notified two Amigos volunteers, Mal Otterson and Allen Osthoff, who agreed to fill sandbags at the city of Cottonwood’s Wastewater Facility and deliver them to Anna’s house before the heavy rains from the tropical depression arrived that evening.
Within a few hours Amigos volunteers arrived on the scene with plenty of sandbags — just in the nick of time.
To counter the threat of further floodwater damage to Anna’s home, Sherry constructed a ‘rescue plan’ to identify the source of the flood water and to propose solutions at no cost to the homeowner. After she contacted the city’s water drainage engineer, Sherry was told the surface water problem came from private sources, most likely behind the house, and there wasn’t an easement maintained by the city, drainage culvert or ditch in front of the home. To complicate matters, there was a second critical issue identified by the city engineer that required immediate attention — a handmade berm that was pooling water close to the home. The city engineer strongly advised Anna to remove it.
Now that the home has been “Blue Staked” by the utility companies, Sherry plans to ask Amigos volunteers to remove the berm next to the home. Fortunately for Anna, Sherry has also been negotiating with a local excavation company who she believes may be willing to excavate a large drainage ditch behind Anna’s property at no charge to her to help stop the flood waters.
To stop floodwaters from infiltrating the front of Anna’s home, Sherry plans to have Amigos volunteers plant groundcover and shrubs, to increase the beauty of her home and brighten Anna’s future outlook.
ABOUT THE AMIGOS DEL VERDE VALLEY VOLUNTEER COALITION
When a low income, elderly or disadvantaged homeowner lives in a home in disrepair, it may cause a decline in their safety and well being and it can bring down property values in the community. One way that community volunteers are combating these challenges is through yard clean-ups and minor exterior home repair programs.
Through its Lend a Hand program; Heart- to-Heart Yard Adoption program; Wheelchair RAMPS program; and Safe-Yard program, AMIGOS DEL VERDE VALLEY community volunteers offer support services that benefit low income elderly and disadvantaged residents inside the cities of Cottonwood, Clarkdale and the Verde Villages free of charge. Services are delivered through the best efforts of our dedicated volunteers as resources allow, to homeowners who do not have the financial and physical means to do similar types of projects around their home.
For more information, call Sherry Twamley at (928) 639-1666, email amigosverdevalley.com or go to amigosdelverdevalley.com