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Black Earth community gathers for flood anniversary picnic

BLACK EARTH (WKOW) — This week marks a year since historic flooding devastated communities across southwestern Wisconsin.

Sunday, people in Black Earth are coming together one year after the damage, for a survivors picnic.

“It became very tragic in a hurry for our whole neighborhood,” Larry Travis, who was at the picnic, said.

A year ago, flood damage in Black Earth was a common sight.

Travis and his family still don’t have a home to call their own.

“We had to end up totally gutting our house and tearing it down ourselves because of the financial side of things,” he said.

Chuck Theobald’s basement was flooded and he was out of his home for more than a week.

He says he was luckier than most.

“Everything that we lost was things that can be replaced if necessary,” Theobald said.

While the flooding a year ago was one of the worst disasters to hit Black Earth, the survivors picnic didn’t just bring back bad memories, it reminded people of all the good in their community.

The Black Earth Fire Department helped organize the picnic at Community Park, as a way to help people heal  from the emotional pain that could be affecting some now a year later.

“It’s why we live in a small town,” Mitch Hodson, the Fire Chief, said. “People care about each other and help each other when they need to.”

The picnic was a chance to laugh and have a good time instead of dwelling on the damage and the work that still needs to be done.

The Travis family is still working to rebuild, as their old home is just an empty lot.

But they couldn’t have gotten to this point without their neighbors.

“I’m at a loss for words right now, it’s just, the support, you cant thank people enough,” Travis said.

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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