Ridgewood community unites to help flood victims

| June 28, 2019

Matt Mourer, a senior at Ridgewood High School, is pictured power washing an area in the school’s vocational agriculture building. FFA members and advisors worked together to clean up the building that was damaged during the June flood in West Lafayette. Josie Sellers | Beacon

WEST LAFAYETTE – The Ridgewood Local School District wasn’t just concerned about how June’s flood impacted its buildings. Both staff and students have stepped up to do what they can to help the entire community in the cleanup process.

“We’ve done everything we can to help,” said Mike Masloski, superintendent of the district. “We got the call about flooding and got into high gear to try and make sure water didn’t get into the high school and middle school. By Friday (of that week) we had dumpsters in the middle school parking lot and student groups were going out and helping people. One of our staff members was even running a front loader to get more stuff in the dumpsters.”

They’ve also had groups go out and help residents of the village with their rebuilding projects.

“I’m very proud of our students and staff for stepping up to help families,” Masloski said. “This has been a huge team effort.”

Donations have been brought to Ridgewood’s middle school where families have been able to get everything from gloves to cleaning supplies to food. The weight room’s bathrooms and showers were available to the public and so was the elementary school’s clothing closet.

“Big strengths of ours are being organized, connected and able to relate with our families,” Masloski said. “The school plays a big role in our community and the community plays a big role in our school. My wife and I are blessed to have the opportunity to live here and have our children attend school here. I also feel I’m blessed to work with the best people in the world.”

He also is very appreciative of the village administrators, the police and fire department and the Coshocton County Emergency Management agency.

“We’ve communicated really well together,” Masloski said. “So many different people have donated their time or brought food for workers. It’s just been incredible.”

His wife Robin volunteered her time on June 26 at the middle school where Peggy Wilden was one of the many people she assisted.

“We lost just about everything in the basement,” Wilden said. “I had my kids and grandkids stuff down there and sewing equipment. Everything has to go.”

The basement of her home on Country Road 5 filled up with water and sewage. Appliances were damaged, paneling has to come down and even the stairs had to be fixed before more items could be carried out.

Seeing the community’s willingness to help people in her situation was a pleasant surprise.

“It makes me so happy to see this,” Wilden said.

Robin also was able to connect her to Eight Days of Hope, a Christian, non-profit organization that helps provide disaster relief services to communities.

Another person that stopped by the middle school to grab some cleaning supplies was Logan Pyers, who is a Ridgewood High School FFA advisor. The vocational agriculture building was the hardest hit area of the school’s property. The middle school got water inside of a few areas. Water came within five to 10 feet of the high school’s doors. The ag building, however, sits behind the middle school and Pyers said the water in there almost came up to his knees. Pyers, fellow advisor Sue Davis, and several students were cleaning up the building on June 26.

“We lost a little bit of stuff like tables, electrical construction stuff, and will have to repaint the floor, but it’s not someone’s home,” he said.

In addition to helping cleanup their own building, the students collected supplies for people in the community and helped others with projects where they could.

“While I was sending out messages asking for volunteers, I was getting messages from kids asking what we could do to help,” Pyers said. “The kids wanted to help and they weren’t just all FFA kids.”

Several blocks away from the schools was another area where people could drive through to pick up anything from clothes to food to furniture. Jessie Tubbs opened up her property on West Railroad Street for the girls’ soccer players at Ridgewood to distribute donations they collected and volunteers from Hopewell Industries helped organize the items.

“Jodi Shrimplin and Denise Posey said they could run that if I got the donations,” Tubbs said. “I opened the doors and others of all ages jumped into action. If everyone does a little, no one has to do it all.”

Shrimplin, who organizes the River View Community Clothing Drive, brought around 150 bags of clothing from her collection.

Brenda Bassett helped organize some of those donations.

“I just got a little water in my basement,” she said. “I’m trying to help out by folding, stacking and putting the clothing with the right sizes. I took some food to the fire station too.”

Ryan Lahna, who also was at the giveaway, said he’s lived in the village for 14 years and has never seen it flood this bad.

Category: Education

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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