CARBON COUNTY — Deb Bandy hoped to live in Fromberg forever, but four months after the historic June flooding damaged her home beyond repair, she has to pick up her life and move thousands of miles away.
The mold on growing on her walls was too much to live with and she has been staying with friends in Fromberg since August.
“There are good people here and I really didn’t want to leave that,” Bandy said recently, “I have respiratory issues. I have asthma and allergies and COPD. So, when I can’t breathe in my own house, it’s time to find something else.”
While staying with friends, the 64 year old was looking for another place to call home. However, Montana’s high housing prices put a new home out of reach and Bandy had to make the hard decision to move back to her home state of Missouri. She started the long journey to her new property in Missouri on Sunday.
“I really wanted to make this place my home and even after the flood it was like, people are so cool, they’re working together as a community. I love this place. I never ever want to leave,” she said.
Some of those people in the community working together are the Disaster Recovery Navigators who helped Bandy during this process.
“The point of this program is just to take some of the burden off. They’ve already been through the hardest day of their life. We want the next couple of days to be easier,” said Tesla Palmatier, who oversees the Disaster Recovery Navigators.
The four navigators for Carbon County work diligently to help their 75 clients find the resources they need, whether its mental health help, a new water heater, or helping with FEMA funds.
Within their current clients, there are still five households needing permanent relocation, nine are in need of temporary housing, and 16 looking for some sort of permanent repair.
“People are tired and I’m hoping that with more outreach, people will start to ask us more questions. Even if you don’t want to be in our program, if we have a resource, we’re going to share it,” Palmatier said.
Whatever the need may be, the navigators want to help those touched by the flooding, like Bandy. No matter how long it takes and how many need the resources.
“Flood response is measured in months, if not years,” said Palmatier.
The Disaster Recovery Navigators are funded through the Center of Disaster Philanthropy and the can be reached at 406-445-7258.