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Friday, November 18th, 2016 by Max Schosid
For Coloradans, the great floods of 2013 remain burned into our collective conscious; a chilling reminder of the awesome force of nature. For many of us, the massive influx of water resulted in a leaky basement, which is a stressful and awful experience. However, some of us lost everything. Take for example the Wechsler family of Lyons, CO. When the rains began to fall on September 10, 2013, there were very few who realized how horrific the next 72 hours would become. When the South St. Vrain River overflowed, and started pouring into the streets, the Wechslers jumped into action.
"My priority was to take care of my boys," said Cat Wechsler, a mother of two and a resident of Lyons for the past two decades (there have been Wechslers living in the Lyons community since the 1880s). The family picked up the belongings most precious to them, and evacuated. When the flood hit, the main floor of the house was submerged under three feet of water, and the overflow from the river pulled the front portion off its foundation. The interior of the house was destroyed, along with all of the family's possessions. The house was declared uninhabitable. The town of Lyons was declared an area of natural disaster; over 200 homes in the greater Lyons area were completely destroyed.
For the Wechslers, the next two years were made up of uncertainty, anger, and doubt. "We lived part time in my office," said Dave Wechsler, who owns and operates a welding business in the area. "We also stayed part time in a trailer over my workshop."
In the summer of 2015, long after the waters of the South St. Vrain receded, and long after the dust had settled, the Wechslers were still without their family home. That's when Milender White, a commercial construction company from Arvada, CO, stepped in. Milender White was paired with the Wechsler family through a Flood Relief Program run by Boulder County Housing and Human Services. Along with the City of Lyons, Milender White got to planning a new start for the Wechslers. However, eight months of permits and red tape still stood in their way.
In January of 2016, the building permit was approved, and Milender White got to work. The house, which had laid dormant since the flood, was completely renovated, and raised a whole two feet to comply with FEMA regulations. Over $300,000 worth of time, equipment, and materials were donated to rebuilding the Wechsler's home. That's where we came in.
Mildender White reached out to Rod Martin's Complete Basement Systems to encapsulate the entire dirt crawlspace underneath the house. Quickly, the RMCBS team jumped into action, and a team of ten Foremen, Co-Foremen and Installation Specialists donated an entire day of their time to the project. Andres Gooding, the Director of Field Operations for Rod Martin's Complete Basement Systems, and the manager overseeing the Production teams, couldn't be happier with his team for getting involved. "We are truly blessed to have the opportunity to help rebuild the Wechsler's home. I am honored to lead such a group of hardworking and generous men. We did a truly great thing here."
On November 17th, 2016, for the first time in more than three years, the Wechslers got to come home. At a ribbon-cutting and commemoration, the emotions were evident, and running high. "On the night of the flood, I prayed for the angels to hold up my house, because I knew I couldn't do it myself. All of you here: you are my angels, and I couldn't be more thankful," said Cat Wechsler, fighting back tears. This will be the first Thanksgiving and Christmas the family has had in their own home in three years.
“It’s been a long three years since the flood, but we are relieved to have our home back,” said Cat Wechsler. “Miracles can happen. Miracles DO happen.”