Survivor Story: Marty Severson (90 sec)


I never imagined that a little
creek, that’s normally six to eight
inches deep, would come up not only over the
banks but into the house, seven and half feet high. It was just under the ceiling. The water was so violent, I’d say it came up one to two
feet a minute. The refrigerator pushed a hole
through the kitchen ceiling. Whatever was left was destroyed. We ended up filling nine
dumpsters, having the house gutted. No one in the area had any idea
that it would ever flood the way it did. You know, I sit in a chair in
the river and fish. I jump in there in the hot
weather and cool off. The house is about 120 to 130
feet from the Little La Crosse
River. So I’m not in the floodplain, I’m not required to have flood
insurance. But I believe in flood insurance
because I leave near the water, simple as that. FEMA’s reaction was immediate. Within a day and a half there
was an insurance adjuster here and they went through
everything. And within a week or two we had
a check for $20,000 and then the rest of the
insurance, I think it totaled out to about
$105,000. I couldn’t have moved forward
without it. We rebuilt the entire
downstairs: kitchen, bathroom,
everything, carpet, walls,
insulation, wiring – did it all. My name is Marty Severson and I live outside of Sparta,
Wisconsin. I’m 70 years old and retired, a
disabled Vietnam vet. Flood insurance was the best
investment I have ever made. I would have lost everything
that I’ve been working for all these years, but having
flood insurance saved my life.

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