Bethel rushes to aid student, family after floods ravaged homes

It has been a complete community effort to help get the Elmerick family back on their feet after the floods of one week ago ravaged their homes.

Chris Elmerick and his family lost everything.

“My aunt lives next door and she lost her foundation and their house as well,” said Elmerick.

In a flash, the record setting rainfall a week ago Monday, took Chris’s home and the homes of some of his relatives living on the same street.

Kaitlyn Elmerick is Chris’s daughter.

“It’s just hard to believe that was actually happening. You see that in the movies and it’s happening here.“

Kaitlyn is a sophomore at Bethel College.

On Tuesday the family received clean up help from freshman and transfer students from the college as well as inmates from the Westville Correctional Institute.

“Bethel offered my family a house for as long as they need. Just to help them get back on their feet. Since we are living at my Aunt’s house right now. They are also helping out with tuition for the rest of the year, knowing we don’t have the funds to do any of those things,” said Kaitlyn.

And for those at Bethel College, helping one of their own was a no-brainer.

Shawn Holtgren, ph.D., is the Vice President for Student Development and has been working closely with Chris and Kaitlyn.

“It always helps when it’s one of their own. Honestly if you start thinking ‘what if that was me’? What would I hope for my own community? This is a tangible way for us to put others before ourselves and support one of family members!”

Chris is usually on the other side, donating his time and efforts and working with a company that helps those in need after disasters like this.

“It’s very humbling. I don't know any other words for that. People do care and for them to come out and take our family in like they are, it means the world to me. And I would do anything for them in return. Because it has been overwhelming,” said Chris.

Over a quarter of a million dollars worth of damage and homes lost, but in the end  a community coming together.

“The blessings have been huge and the outpouring of support has been awesome,” said Chris.

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