Minnesota flood victims empathize with Sandy's survivors

11:28 PM, Oct 30, 2012   |    comments
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THOMSON, Minn. - Living among the 150 residents of Thomson, photographer Alan Johnson could not be more removed from New York, City. Yet he shares the pain being experienced by victims of hurricane Sandy.

"Once it's out of the news, it's still affecting people for a long time afterwards," he said.

It was Alan and his wife Linda who were dealing with crisis last June when the Thomson reservoir overflowed its banks and swallowed their neighborhood.

Both were lifted up from their home in a basket by a Coast Guard helicopter, as a torrent surrounded their home.

Turns out that was the easy part.

Four months later the Johnsons' kitchen is stripped to the studs.

Their insurance covered none of the costs, so their rebuilding will be slow, as time and finances allow.

"We're still feeling the trauma of it," said Linda, looking back on the past four months.

The Johnson's insurance didn't cover the damage in their photo studio either, where wood flooring and walls were quickly coated in mold.

"Everything that isn't up is pretty much toast," said Alan. Having lost use of both their home and business, the Johnson's, temporarily, set up a photo studio in Duluth.

They were able to move operations back to Thomson in July. Yet things are still far from normal.

One example: A bridge closure means the drive to their bank in Carlton is a 20 mile round-trip.

Normally they can get to the bank in about minute.

It's all part of the tangle of emotions and challenges Sandy's victims will feel too.

"And the dealing with the government," adds Alan. "Everybody thinks you're going to get help and most of the time you don't. Just do what you can on your own."

Linda confides how depressing it can be to see the plastic that separates the couple's kitchen from the rest of the house.

"Thanksgiving is pretty soon and then Christmas and I wish it wasn't like this. I wish it was the way it used to be. But right now it's still hard."

The crisis quickly passes, but the getting back to normal takes some time.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )

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