Many volunteers helped speed up the recovery process at Miller Hardware PDF Print E-mail

By Bonnie Prindle
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On May 19th, Kurtis Fisher watched as floodwater busted out the front windows and poured into his business, Miller Hardware and Garden Center.


He stood with his wife and six others, including a six-month-old baby, at a safe vantage point up the road. Kurtis was overwhelmed but grateful, as all of them had been pulled out the window of the building in a harrowing rescue just minutes before.

“We saw [the water] coming up the road and we were kinda picking stuff up off the floor, trying to get things up higher on the shelves,” said Kurtis. “Of course, it was raining then, and it was just a few minutes and next thing we knew the water was about two feet deep out the door.”

The employees went outside to move cars in the parking lot, trying to save what they could, and by the time they got back in the building the water was four feet deep outside.

“[The Salem Fire Department] broke out the window and got us out,” said Kurtis. “It was over waist-deep outside then … It happened in a matter of minutes, it seemed like. Just a few minutes and the water was up that high.”

That night, the water rose six feet up front of the building. The next morning, Kurtis wasn’t sure what he would find when arrived at the store.

Inside, he found the place in a state of wreckage.

“There was about a foot of mud and things off the shelves and our dog food and fertilizer,” said Kurtis. “It was a total mess. The counter had floated in front of the door and things were everywhere.”

Outside the store, he found about eight volunteers already hard at work, cleaning up mud and washing equipment.

That first Saturday after the flood, more than 50 volunteers stopped by to help out Miller Hardware. Some came from local churches, like Mt. Tabor and Campbellsburg Christian. There were many locals from Washington County, including members of the West Washington Impact Club. Some were even strangers from the Clarksville or New Albany area who had heard about the flooding and were just looking for ways to help.

“It (The amount of volunteers) was unreal,” said Kurtis.

About a week after the flood, Milller’s Hardware was able to put a sign outside of their building that read, “By the grace of God, we are open.”

Nearly a month later, the windows have been replaced, there are new items on the shelves, and the store is receiving customers again.

According to Kurtis, the last month has been full of a lot of long, hard days and late nights, but things are finally starting to return to normal. Members of the community who volunteered their time or gave donations all contributed to the speedy recovery.

“I think it was awesome how everybody came together,” said Kurtis. “...the people themselves, from this county and other counties too – it’s been amazing to see all the people come out and help.”

The cleanup is nearly finished, but the work isn’t over. The biggest way people can help Miller Hardware and other places damaged by the flood is by supporting local businesses. Those still looking for ways to help can do so by stopping into local businesses that have been able to open their doors again – either by the grace of God or the good people of the community.