The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

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August 27, 2012

Irene memories flood back to area

(Continued)

The Daily Star —

After about 2½ hours on the roof and after water receded, the Youngs left the shed roof to find indoor shelter.

“We felt good about getting back inside,” Young said.  “There were other people who had just as scary experiences — I’m just glad we were all together.”

Irene destroyed about half the 5,000-square-foot retail space of A.J. Young & Son for a total property loss of about $500,000, said Young, who didn’t have flood insurance. Irene caused “unsurpassed” damages since the family business was founded by his father in 1957, he said.

The cleanup began, and about six weeks later, some merchandise was being sold from a pole barn, he said. The main retail store re-opened Dec. 1. After the business secured a $430,000 loan through the Small Business Administration, a two-story, 40-by-60 foot building was constructed to replace a lost wing, Young said. Finishing touches are under way, he said, and plans are to have a grand opening this autumn for the downstairs.

Young credits continued business from the community, funding through a federal loan and volunteers as key contributors toward recovery, which continues. Volunteers helped with “rotten, dirty jobs” to clean mud and debris from the property and merchandize, he said.

Young said he and his wife live in a 100-year-old house that stands about 30 yards behind the business. Flood water from Irene filled the basement, then rose to 5 feet on the first floor, he said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency provided $29,000 because more than 50 percent of the house was damaged, Young said, and with insurance and volunteer help, the home was renovated. A second-home owner offered the use of a house a few miles away, Young said, and they lived there for about eight months.

“People wanted to help people,” Young said. “You see the support and love that comes from your community and all around — other parts of the country. It’s just unbelievable what people did — I can’t say enough.”

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