Organized by: Laura Nessler
It was a dark and stormy night....sounds like a cliche, doesn't it? Well unfortunately cliches have a root in reality. Back on July 19, 2015, my mother, Marjorie, heard a loud crashing noise, and felt her whole house shake. As it was storming outside, she just assumed it was a bolt of lightning striking nearby. Unfortunately, it was much, much worse. She fell back asleep as the storm lulled, and woke up to a brilliant sunny day. Gathering her laundry, she opened the door to the basement, and looked down in horror....the entire basement was filled with debris. Apparently, the basement wall had collapsed, sending dirt, concrete, and bricks tumbling into the space that was once part of her home. I received a frantic call from my sister, who had in turn received a call from our mother. I drove 250 miles to her house, to assess the problem, saw that the gas lines and electric was bent and went into action. I had the fire department over to turn off the possibly leaking gas lines, the electric, and my brother turned off the water that was leaking into the basement. We then stepped back to see what else we could do. My sister had already notified the insurance company, but they were less than helpful. "If it was done by water, or by water moving the earth, then your policy is null and void." How could that be?? My mother's house is on a hill, and no one below them were under water. The house had stood for over 60 years, and never had an issue....in fact, there was a bedroom down there that was utilized at times for guests. After having numerous contractors, adjustors, and engineers look at the basement (all of whom said they had never seen this happen before, it looked like the basement wall imploded) the conclusion was...it could be water, or it could be something else. However, the insurance company would not budge on their assessment of the situation, and has been refusing to pay for damages. The closest estimate to repair the place is $35, 500. Much more than my 75 year old mother could afford.... I helped her find a place to stay in the interim that was safe, as she does not drive, a nice place in town nearby, an independent living center. It's not home for her, and she wants desperately to return. The place was the least expensive of the options that were available to my mom but still is costing her over $200 more than her fixed income will allow. My father passed away in 2001, shortly after both my sons were called to action after the 9/11 catastrophe. While he had been ill for a long time, I think the national tragedy that happened was a catalyst to his death. My father's death was very devastating to my mom, as he did not leave her in good financial straits, but we managed to help her stay in her home. The house itself was finally paid off this year, long after my mom retired....she was hoping to be able to enjoy some of the rest of her life, but now with this unexpected accident, she is lost and unsure of what is going to happen to her. My sister, brother, and I are doing our best, but this whole situation has been overwhelming--and we need to do something soon before winter sets in. We have managed to stabilize some of the house with floor jacks, but to repair the building itself will cost capital that none of us have. We are appealing to the public to help us in this situation. I have contacted a lawyer, but his retainer alone will cost us $3000, and no guarantee that we would prevail in court. I understand the amount I have requested sounds like a lot, and it is...especially with so many other people out there who need help, why would anyone help us? I have no answer to that, except that my mom is a wonderful woman, one of the nicest and sweetest people you would care to meet. She deserves to have something good happen to her, she who has had nothing but tragedy and illness with my dad, and now her home. If you feel you can help, anything we receive over the amount of repairs will be used to help another person in need here, and if we win in court at some future date, those funds over our repair costs will also be used to fund someone else in need. Thank you for your consideration.