Flood victim spends Easter helping neighbors

04/08/2010 12:00 AM |

Horton Avenue resident Linda Hobson surveys the flood damage at her home Sunday. Ms. Hobson, a social worker, has served as a liaison between her neighbors and lawmakers.

Many people spent Sunday hunting for Easter eggs or eating chocolate bunnies. But one social worker whose home was destroyed in last week’s flood spent a large portion of her holiday helping neighbors do laundry and sorting through her waterlogged possessions.

Lifelong Riverhead resident Linda Hobson began her day by picking up two homeless men from the Riverhead train station to bring them to services at First Baptist Church of Riverhead.

During Pastor Charles Coverdale’s Easter morning sermon, Ms. Hobson prayed along with her fellow parishioners to help the people on Horton Avenue.

“God has been good to us,” she said that afternoon.

Ms. Hobson has become a sort of unofficial spokesperson for Horton Avenue, coordinating visits from Congressman Tim Bishop and handling the swell of media attention the street has received since last week’s flooding.

After church, Ms. Hobson, who has been staying with her mother since last Tuesday, began the process of stuffing whatever items she could into garbage bags.

Still in her Easter dress and wearing a pair of rubber boots, she led a reporters into her home to survey the damage.

“Oh gosh,” she said as she walked in.

In the living room, amid knickknacks strewn about, were a broken bookshelf and a television that had fallen off its stand. College textbooks, photos and almost all of her furniture were ruined by the water, which Ms. Hobson said might have reached almost three feet on the ground floor at its worst. Her basement was still completely submerged.

She pointed to her kitchen tiles, which had began to become unglued, and the refrigerator that had automatically shut off when the water started to rise.

Like many of her neighbors in the low-lying area, Ms. Hobson does not have flood insurance on her home. She’s hoping for help from the federal government to put her life back together.

“We’re survivors here,” she said. “We’ve had to rebuild … and we will again this time.”

She loaded soiled bed linens, towels and clothing into her sedan and took them to the Laundry Palace on Route 58, where she spent the next few hours doing her own and her neighbors’ laundry. First Baptist Church donated money from its Horton Avenue fund to pay for soap and laundry cards.

When all was said and done, Ms. Hobson had finished about 35 loads.

Despite losing her possessions and having her home virtually destroyed, Ms. Hobson said she was just thankful the community has come together to help her and other evacuees.

“It’s almost as overwhelming as the water,” she said.  Click for video.

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