WYALUSING TOWNSHIP — Many businesses in Bradford County are back to normal after devastating floods caused by Tropical Storm Lee hit their area hard this time last year.
Greater Wyalusing Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Wendy Gaustad said it is hard to forget just how hard her community was hit.
“It was pretty frightening at first. (We) didn`t really realize the extent of the damage until we couldn`t get places.”
Wyalusing Township in Bradford County was covered in flood waters and business owners and community members watched in disbelief.
“Basically, everything was literally in a great big heap in the middle of floor. That`s they only way to describe it. Upside down counters upside down, chairs lodged in the ceiling,” said Penny Hamilton, the owner of Wyalusing Florist and Gifts.
Hamilton’s store was just one business covered in water. Today her store is cleaner than ever, with new floors, windows and inventory for her customers. But she says starting the clean-up was the toughest part.
“Step one was I came in the door, and I went back home. That was step one, I couldn`t bear.”
Genesis Salon workers say they faced the same disaster. Genesis Salon employee Jane Williams said it was unbelievable.
“Mud, devastation, everything was all over, pulled off the walls. We had like six and a half feet of water, which had receded, but it was a total disaster.”
A total of 27 businesses were affected by the flood including those in the Wyalusing Creek Plaza. A year later, they`re all back and open for business, and they say they couldn`t have done it without their community.
“They didn`t reach out at all, the community just responded,” Gaustad added. “The kids from the high school came in, there`s just folks that stepped right up and set up food for all of the clean up effort and that sort of thing.”
These business owners say that help is what helped them through some of the most trying times in their lives.
“Very touching, very heartfelt that the community support was just absolutely amazing,” Williams said.
Last year’s flood has taught them all an important life lesson
“You never take life for granted,”said Hamilton. “You never know what tomorrow can bring.”