“I’ve never seen anything like this,” says West Lafayette residents

| June 21, 2019

WEST LAFAYETTE – “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” ― Fred Rogers, American Television Personality.

The community of West Lafayette embodied Mr. Rogers’ statement after a devastating flood engulfed parts of the village Tuesday evening, June 18 into the morning hours of June 19. At least 30 people were evacuated by boat from the apartments in the village and a number of homes were destroyed. Homes broke away from their foundation and basements were flooded to the point of destruction.

Amid all the chaos, not only did Coshocton County government step up and care for its people, but businesses and individuals in the community did as well.

“If nothing else has impressed me about this, it’s the community stepping forward and helping out,” said Mayor Stephen Bordenkircher at a recent village meeting.

Community members and businesses in West Lafayette and Coshocton pulled together on Thursday, June 20 and Friday, June 21 to hand out food, cleaning supplies, and offer emotional support.

The Dari Hut on Main Street in West Lafayette had hot dogs, chips, and drinks available on both days.

“We started this because of the flood victims,” said owner Tracey Wyler. “I think they had 30 or more people evacuated from their homes. But we just want to give back and help them out because a lot of them don’t have power, plus the emergency responders, EMTs, police officers, and everyone involved. It’s just to help out the community as much as possible.”

Wyler, like many others in the village, said he has never seen anything like this before.

“In my 40 years I’ve been here, I’ve never seen anything like this and I never want to see it again,” said Wyler. “It’s heartbreaking to see these pictures on social media.”

Wyler said that he just wants to help a community who has always supported his business.

“You’ve helped us in the past,” said Wyler. “Now, we’re going to help you.”

On Friday, June 21, members of the Country Kids 4-H Club were at Rent-2-Own on Second Street in Coshocton collecting snacks, water, and cleaning supplies for flood victims. The idea was organized by Kyra McWhorter, Hunter Bisel, and Kodi McWhorter.

Kodi said he wanted to do this, “Because I feel bad for everyone over there.”

The group was trying to entice people into the parking lot to donate by waving signs on the corner and playing music. Tomorrow, Rent-2-Own will have a barbecue for flood victims as well.

“We are helping two families specifically,” said Amanda Bender, Kyra and Kodi’s mom. “We’ve been in contact with Mike Masloski, the superintendent at Ridgewood, and all the remaining items will be going to the school for them to distribute.”

A friend of the family’s, Hunter Wilson, also came from Zanesville to help with the collection.

Burt Park in West Lafayette was also the site of people showing support on Thursday and Friday. Thursday afternoon, JB’s Smokin’ BBQ was across from the park near the eat stand serving free food.

“We live here in town, so we wanted to do something,” said Jason Blevens of JB’s Smokin’ BBQ. “My buddy and I, we decided to do beef hot dogs, French fries, chips, and coleslaw today. Sam’s Club in Zanesville donated items and Frontier Power gave us propane to burn for the fuel.”

Blevens said that several people had dropped off donations throughout the day.

“We’re just local and if we set up somewhere in town, everyone supports us, and it’s our way of giving back,” said Blevens.

Thursday evening, Ridgewood FFA members were at Burt Park collecting donations. They were giving out cleaning supplies, disposable mops, trash bags, and buckets.

“We live here,” said Sue Davis, Ridgewood FFA advisor. “One of our big things is community service and to give of ourselves without expecting anything in return. This is a little bit different because most of the time when we collect stuff, it’s for people we don’t know.”

Davis is also co-owner of the Ridgewood General Store, which offered showers and bathrooms for people affected by the flood.

“A lot of people yesterday were coming in and sharing experiences,” said Davis. “It was all the local businesses, not just us giving out food and helping. When you live in a tight-knit community, we all come together and get stuff done.”

On Friday afternoon, June 21, Home Loan Savings Bank was at the eat stand in Burt Park giving out free hot dogs, cookies, chips, water, and coleslaw.

“They’ve just been through a devastating event and we can take one thing off their plate and give them lunch,” said Casey Newell, branch manager.

Newell said that many people stopped by the booth for a free lunch and to tell their stories.

“I’ve worked up here since 2011 and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Newell. “We just want to support the community and be there to help anyway we can.”

Many other businesses and organizations helped flood victims during this time in a variety of ways. If you have any pictures of your business or organization helping, send them to us at [email protected]

Photos by Becca Maddux.

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Beth Scott

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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