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Home For The Holidays Following The Flood

December 15, 2011, 4:59 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Home For The Holidays Following The Flood
FORT PIERRE, SD - Home for the holidays has a whole new meaning for families who were flooded out by the Missouri River this summer.

Fifteen to 18 families in the Pierre and Fort Pierre area still can't return because of all the mold and damage, but others have been fortunate enough to move back in.

Decorating a Christmas tree in her home on the Missouri River is something that Amy Hughes never imagined she would be doing so soon.

"No, I didn't think we'd be back in here until next summer," Amy said.

The Hughes family lives right on the river in the Frontier Road neighborhood just north of Fort Pierre. All 25 homes in the development were surrounded by water at the height of the flood this summer.

"When the water got about the main level, then your mind kind of switches into, 'What are you going to do to fix it?  What are you going to have to do to fix the problem?" Steve Hughes said.

Water covered the entire main level of the Hughes’ home, but when the water went down, Steve and his sons started the long process of putting everything back together.

"When the water went down enough around the main floor to where we can get in here and work, we took the flooring out.  We took the sheetrock out," Steve said.

Steve Hughes took a few hours of vacation every day this fall so he could work on his house. He still has a few projects left, but his family was able to move in after Thanksgiving.

“They spent hours and hours and hours working out here and if it weren't for them, we wouldn't be back here," Amy said.

But the Hughes family says the sad part about this entire situation is that even though they've moved back into their home, this flood has changed the entire neighborhood.

"I feel bad for my neighbors who can't come home. I wish my neighbors on each side of me were back here, but they're not, and they have no intention of coming back that I'm aware of," Amy said.

A cruel reminder also greets the Hughes family every day. A note on their door still says their house is not fit to live in. They have to complete an inspection and get a mold test to get that removed.

But at least the family who was flooded out all summer can say they are home for the holidays.

"My wife was always asking, 'When are we going to be in? When are we going in?' No time table, but it came together pretty well really with a lot of hard work and a lot of determination," Steve said.

So far, only about half-dozen families have moved back into the 25-home development along Frontier Road.

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