Flood victim finds light at end of the tunnel - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Flood victim finds light at end of the tunnel

by Bryan Goettel

PALO (KWWL) - The reminder still sits in the driveway.

"It's almost hard to come out here and finish because it brings it all back," homeowner Gina Franklin said.

So much of what Franklin and her family had was in the basement of their Palo home. Eight feet of water left virtually all of it ruined.

"My husband and I sat down and cried," Franklin said. "All the baby pictures, all the things, he was married once before and his wife died of cancer. All of her pictures, all of the personal items are gone."

"Going through the stuff that was in the basement I think was the hardest part," Franklin's son, John Sullivan, said.

Gina's son, John remembers it well. He left for work that Thursday night. It would be weeks before he'd return home.

"I went for a walk around Palo and everyone just sad faces and it was devastating," Sullivan said.

"It was just...I don't know, we were petrified," Franklin said.

Even today, the scars of the flood are on the walls. But with the help of FEMA, volunteers and countless hours put in by Sullivan and his brothers, the house is looking more like home again.

"They worked from light til dark til we couldn't work anymore," Franklin said.

Out of the darkness, Sullivan has found the light.

"I just kinda started drawing stuff up," Sullivan said.

Sullivan's class at Metro High School came up with the idea to sell candles, known as flood lights. The labels were created by Sullivan. And the proceeds help people and families just like his own.

"It actually feels really good," Sullivan said. "It's just...I'm helping out and I was even...I'm a victim of the flood and I'm still helping."

"My boys came together unbelievably," Franklin said. "They became men last summer. I'm just really proud."

The flood lights sell for $6 and the profits are split among three different organizations.

But you're gonna have to wait to get your hands on one. Metro sold out of their initial allotment of 750. That's $4,500 raised.

The school plans to re-order more of the flood lights in the fall.

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel

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