The water from the early January flooding may be receding in southern Clay County, but for one family unable to return home, the Red Cross has been invaluable.
"When you live along the Eel River and someone comes to tell you to leave because the water is rising, just leave. Don't stop to think about it," said Brandy Monfort, a flood victim struggling to get her family's life back in order.
The Monfort family had just moved into their new home in the Towpath Road area three days before the Eel River forced them to leave it behind.
"We don't know what the damages are yet because we haven't been able to get back there," Brandy said, explaining that during the escape from the flood their car broke down. "We went back to the trailer to get tools to fix it, but by the time we returned the water had engulfed the car."
Brandy, her husband Richard, and their three children, Cody, age 3, Cheyene, age 5, and Li'l Richard, age 2, were trapped by the raging ice-cold water of Eel River.
A conservation officer in a boat had to rescue the family.
"The kids thought it was fun to ride in the boat," Brandy said. "But as a family, it wasn't fun at all."
Helping families like the the Monforts is exactly what the Red Cross does best, arranging for the family to stay at the Villa Motel in Brazil.
"The Red Cross is a truly wonderful organization," Villa Motel Manager Michelle Alexander said, explaining the motel has previously worked with the Red Cross by providing rooms for victims that have lost homes and all their possessions to fire. "We have had nine people and four dogs stay here because of the flood."
"They've been so wonderful to us," Brandy said. "Red Cross got us a place to stay and gave us money for food and clothing."
Grants and contributions make shelter, food, counseling and other forms of assistance available to qualified disaster victims without expectation of repayment or reimbursement.
"We encourage families in need to seek assistance," American Red Cross Executive Director Carol Stevens said, explaining that Red Cross disaster relief workers will continue to help as long as the need is there. "It is our job to provide victims in need a safe and dry place to stay until they can safely return home."
"Red Cross also supplied us with clean-up kits," Brandy said, but quickly explained the kits haven't been used. The loss of their car has made it difficult for the family to make it back to their home. "We haven't lost everything, just almost."