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An aerial photo of Jack and Jacki Damm’s flooded home in the Fairview-Cartwright area.

Checks totaling $237,237 have gone out in the mail to 17 families whose homes were damaged or destroyed by floods in the Fairview-Cartwright area this spring.

The checks came from Lutheran Social Services, one of two organizations that raised funds to help those affected by spring flooding.

Twenty-nine homes suffered some degree of damage according to an assessment by Team Rubicon, after the Yellowstone River overflowed its banks in the Fairview-Cartwright area this spring. Nine were completely destroyed.

Shirley Dykshoorn, program director for Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response, said the money was distributed based on an assessment of unmet needs, conducted by a committee that included representatives of the affected area.

“It was an objective point system and confidential,” Dykshoorn said.

Included in the assessment process was a one-on-one interview with each of the families, as well as a written application. A point system was used, based on factors like whether the home was destroyed, whether there were young children in the home, or whether someone was disabled, to name a few.

“It was very fairly done, and they actually came to meet with us and visit about our application,” said Jacki Damm, who noted the case manager had come all the way from Fargo to meet with them and discuss their case.

Damm and her husband Jack are among the families whose home was a total loss.

Jacki said several of the families in the area are now getting foundations laid for their new homes, and that the check from Lutheran Social Services would be a great help to them.

“We had to destroy our home,” Damm said. “We pushed it into a hole and burned it.”

The Damm’s new home will be placed on higher ground, but will not have a basement.

“I wish we could have a basement,” Damm said. “But we are planning that the water will come back. God forbid it does. But we are building and planning as if it will.”

The area had not flooded to the degree it did this year in better than 70-some years of history, according to residents living there. It has not been designated a flood plain, and so the residents have been unable to obtain flood insurance.

McKenzie County officials have said previously that joining the National Flood Insurance Program could be considered, but indicated there are also some complicating factors that must be weighed by the community.

Many of the homeowners were frustrated that the policies they did have were no help with anything. Those who had purchased displacement policies said they were not honored, since the displacement was due to flooding.

Damm, meanwhile, said she and other members of the area affected are grateful to everyone who helped with fundraising efforts for those affected by the flooding.

“Our community, family and friends are all amazing,” she said. “There ended up being some big donors like ONEOK, who gave $100,000. That was unbelievably generous of them.”

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