'These are trying times:' As Gov. Evers tours flood damage in Fond du Lac, volunteers help clean up

FOND DU LAC — As 300 homeowners in Fond du Lac waited to hear whether the federal government would help them pay to repair flood damage, Governor Tony Evers on Tuesday, March 26 toured one of the hardest hit areas.

FOX6 News stopped by a home gutted down to the studs by volunteers after water destroyed the walls, cabinets and nearly everything else inside.

Scott Cleveland

"It's all gone," said Scott Cleveland.

A foot of water invaded his home, destroying everything it touched.

"The flood seeped through three layers of floor," said Cleveland.

Another 18 inches took over his garage.

"You go through it and try to dry it out as much as possible, but you can't save all of it," said Cleveland.

Justin Sabo

The home was remodeled less than a year ago, and thanks to flooding, it was getting a makeover once again. When the water receded, volunteers with Team Rubicon moved in.

"You have to tear the sheetrock down to the studs, tear the cabinets out. Everything has to come out," said Justin Sabo, incident commander for Team Rubicon.

Governor Tony Evers

The volunteers worked for nothing but handshakes -- helping 26 Fond du Lac homeowners remove rot and reduce some anxiety.

"This is probably the most significant event of their lifetime," said Sabo.

"I know these are trying times for everybody," said Governor Evers.

It wasn't clear as of Tuesday whether the homeowners would receive any federal dollars, as Fond du Lac hadn't met the threshold for a FEMA disaster declaration.

Brian Satula

"We are not at that point yet. We are at the damage assessment point at this time," said Brian Satula, director of Wisconsin Emergency Management.

During his tour, Governor Evers assured homeowners that if not FEMA, other agencies would help.

"I'm working with state agencies to make sure homeowners can find the resources they need," said Evers.

While state leaders worked to collect damage reports, Cleveland counted his blessings, thankful for the volunteers not bound by red tape.

"It's a good day," he said.

Evers earlier in March declared a state of emergency for much of the state as heavy rain, melting snow and ice jamming flooded roads, fields and communities.

Anyone with damage was encouraged to call 211 to report it.

Fond du Lac flooding from snowmelt