Hope in the Wake of Tragedy

Life after the Meramec River flood

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On a bitter cold December day, the Meramec River seeped into 61-year-old Linda’s mobile home.

Little did she know rain would fall until it met her chest, until her floors buckled and her paneling split, until her washer and freezer choked with water, until her memories and house of 13 years were destroyed.

“The worst bad dream I've ever had,” Linda calls it.

A team of rescuers plucked Linda and her son Damon from the frigid waters and brought them to safety. They were among hundreds the United Way-supported American Red Cross helped in the days that followed the disaster. Volunteers gave them warm showers, dry clothes and hot meals, but most importantly, a safe place to stay while determining next steps.

For that first week after the flood, with the support of United Way of Greater St. Louis and the Red Cross, Linda didn’t have to worry how she and her son would eat. She didn’t need to fear where they’d sleep, how they’d shower or get clean clothes. She didn’t have to worry about surviving; she knew they would.

“If it wasn’t for the Red Cross, I would’ve sat at the edge of the water and thought, ‘Please, no, don’t take my home.’”

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