Through the devastation caused by the historic 2019 Arkansas River Flood, one Wooster family said they are left thankful and inspired by the outpouring of community support they received during this disaster.
Jeff and Karen Underwood have been hard at work since this disaster made its way to Faulkner County. But, they weren't alone in their efforts to save their old farmhouse.
The couple lives in an old farmhouse along Highway 25 in Wooster. When they learned of the imminent danger to their home, the couple went to pick up a load of sandbags. Through the course of collecting sandbags, the Underwoods in a sense picked up some helpers.
Neighbors and strangers came together to help the couple put sandbags around their home.
"I've been really impressed with the community of Conway, of Faulkner County and of New Life Church," Karen told the Log Cabin Democrat on Friday. The Beaverfork Fire Department was also a great help, she said.
For three days, the couple and an army of volunteers drove back and forth collecting and stacking sandbags. Many volunteers walked to help the couple, and once the waters began rising, those same individuals drove four wheelers to the Underwoods' home to continue with relief efforts.
Not only are the Underwoods thankful for the help they've received in saving their home, but Karen also said they have learned a great deal about the history of the farmhouse they call home.
The couple has lived in the locally, well-known home for about a year and a half. Since posting online about her family's gratitude of the support they received from the community, Karen said many began sending her photos or telling her stories of their time at the old farmhouse.
"This has been the highlight," she said of hearing others' stories about growing up in the old Wooster farmhouse. "One woman sent us a picture of her as a little girl in front of the house."
The Wooster resident said it's a great feeling to know she and her husband are helping to carry on the legacy of a home that is well-known and also loved in the community.
Before the rising waters seeped into the couple's farmhouse, they put all their antiques and other valuables up high. One of the home's former owners let the couple know their barn would likely experience flooding, so the two put their chickens up high and prepared the best they could. Despite their efforts to keep water from getting into their home, a few rooms ultimately were filled with about six to eight inches of water.
The sandbags held for a while, but eventually, the waters made their way into the old farmhouse. The couple plans to get back to work and make repairs as soon as possible.
"We're going to need floors and some walls replaced," Karen said. "We didn't lose everything; we're better off than a lot ... [and] we're going to rebuild."
Many people have offered to let the couple stay with them until the flood waters recede. While the couple was grateful for the opportunity, they have stayed at their Wooster residence throughout the flooding event.
Following the help they've received through this disaster, the Underwoods said they will be quick to step up and help others whenever they can. The couple also asks for others to keep those working to aid flood victims in mind.
"Pray for the volunteers, they're getting tired," Karen said. "They've been doing this for two weeks. Pray for the strength for the people organizing all these relief efforts."