LEAVITTSBURG - In the areas hardest hit by last Thursday's flood waters, many residents have spent the ensuing days trying to put the pieces back together.
Homeowners along Meadowbrook Drive forced to flee their property have since returned to find their houses and belongings in ruins.
"All of the basement was flooded," Jerry Moxley of 4370 Meadowbrook Drive said Tuesday. "Everything that was down there was totaled. We've just kind of been trying to go through a cleanup session."
Jerry Moxley of 4370 Meadowbrook Drive, Leavittsburg, points to the high water mark on Tuesday left by flood waters following last week’s rain. Moxley and his family were forced to evacuate the home during Thursday’s flood.
Tribune Chronicle / Ashley Newman
Last Wednesday's thunderstorms dumped nearly 4 inches of water on the Mahoning Valley. The Mahoning River crested at 16.21 feet about 11 p.m. Thursday. Normal flood stage for that portion of the river is 10 feet.
The flood waters forced Moxley and his family out of their home. While he was able to return Friday, the ordeal is far from over.
"The furnace and water tanks are shot," Moxley, who is a minister at Hoyt Street Church of God in Christ, said. "There isn't any structural damage to the outside that I can see. We expect the insurance people to come around soon to look at the damage."
Officials with Warren Township advised Moxley and others affected by the flood to place damaged items outside the home for pickup from 7 a.m to 3 p.m. today.
"We don't have a big work force with the road department, but we are going to do our best to go around and start picking stuff up," Trustee Kay Anderson said. "We'll pick things back up Monday and do another round of cleanup."
Anderson said the township will focus on the hardest-hit areas, including Meadowbrook Drive, Riverview Street and Eagle Creek Road.
Others in the community have taken the initiative in lending a helping hand to those families in need.
Newton Falls resident Jessica Hampton is volunteering in conjunction with Good Shepherd Community Church in Leavittsburg.
"We've helped about 31 families today," Hampton said. "I'm not so much involved in the cleanup, but trying to help people recover."
This recovery process includes collecting donations from local residents and businesses, according to Hampton. The Sunrise Inn in Warren has committed to donating boxes of pasta and sauce every other day for the next two weeks.
"That will feed 50 people right there," Hampton said.
Larry's Super Pawn donated $60 to be spent at Dollar General, while volunteers also met at the Hot Dog Shoppe on Tuesday to collect donated clothes and cleaning supplies.
"The biggest problem I've seen is raw sewage in people's homes," Hampton said. "That's why these cleaning supplies can't come fast enough."
Hampton said her family was helped by the community after a fire destroyed her home just before Christmas in 2005. She has spent the following years giving back.
"The community came together to help us," Hampton said. "My favorite saying is, 'See a need, fill a need.' When people help you, you want to help back. I'm a stay-at-home mom and I'm trying to do what I can to help the people around here."
Hampton encouraged anyone willing to help to contact her at 330-609-3540.
Meanwhile, the Red Cross announced late Tuesday night intentions to continue aiding those in need by conducting mobile feeding and the distribution of cleanup kits to local residents through at least Saturday.
Joe Wheeler, who lives at 3730 Meadowbrook Drive, is another Leavittsburg resident struggling to pick up the pieces.
"I'm doing the best I can considering nobody would give me insurance," Wheeler said. "I've lived here for two years in March. I went to 10 different people and no one would give me insurance, so now it's all on me. I don't have any help with anything."
Wheeler refused to leave his home during Thursday's evacuation, choosing instead to wait the flood waters out at home.
" I have my dog here plus everything I own in that house," Wheeler said. "You know how people get when they know you're not there and they know what you have. They're going to break in and take it. Plus, I wouldn't leave my dog for anything."
According to Wheeler, there is not any structural damage to the home, but most of his personal possessions were hit by the water.
"It's just a mess," Wheeler said. "I've gotten a lot of it dried out, but I don't have the money to replace anything right now. At the same time, all of my neighbors have been great. These are the kind of neighbors you need when something like this happens."
In Braceville, the township has made several Dumpsters available at the intersection of Braceville Robinson Road N.W. and state Route 82 for dropping off water damaged items. Jason Moore, a road department worker, used a backhoe to help residents unload material.
"People bring their trucks and trailers down here," Moore said. "There has been a lot of carpet and furniture and other kind of stuff you'd expect to see in basements. We help them unload it and put it in the dumpsters.
"People are very grateful for it. Many of them thanked us."