Shannon Burkes had just woken up when she realized water had seeped into her camper and was nearing the top of her mattress.
She’s lived in the camper community off Antioch Road for three and a half years. Burkes knew it was prone to flooding, but said it had never been this bad before.
“I’ve never been through a disaster like this,” Burkes said. “But you know, God said that he’d never put too much on you that you can’t handle.”
Rescue workers had told the community they needed to leave, and offered to help them out on their rescue boats, but Shannon said she and her 86-year-old grandfather, Joseph Kincaid, stayed, thinking the water wouldn’t get any higher than normal.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case this time. The flood water mixed in with raw sewage, and ruined all of Burkes’ clothes, shoes and many of her other personal belongings.
She spent Tuesday barefoot, walking through the muddy yard that still had patches of standing water trying to salvage what was left of her belongings.
Burkes wasn’t the only one left devastated by the flooding.
Lynn Tester had just moved into the community about two weeks ago. He had put his camper on concrete blocks before the flooding started, but it wasn’t enough. Water still came into his camper.
“We lost about everything,” Tester said. “It messed the refrigerator up.”
He had been warned that the area was prone to flooding, but had no idea it would be so high.
Tester and his brother bought the camper about a month ago and started fixing it up. Before moving into the camper, he had been homeless for five months, often sleeping on benches outside of Walmart.
“Bad luck is just piling up on me,” he said. “It’s depressing. I’ve started from scratch many times and it just gets harder and harder every time the older you get.”
When he was trying to get moved into the camper, Tester said he asked for help with some small things on Facebook, but only ever received help from one person.
“People that’s been there will help you quicker than the ones that haven’t because they don’t know [what it’s like],” he said.
That wasn’t the case this time, though.
Local businesses, including Fatz Café and Chick-fil- A , stepped up to provide meals for the neighborhood, and local churches donated some food and supplies, too.
Jason Seidel, a founding member of Let’s Act Burke County, said he can empathize with the community after he lost everything in a fire eight years ago.
“It’s traumatic,” Seidel said. “I know what it feels like to lose everything and have to start from scratch. These people are in the exact same position and I want them to have more than I had. I was without a home for three months. It was a rough place to be.”
On Twitter, Seidel reached out to Camping World, leading the company’s CEO, Marcus Lemonis, to respond.
“He just called me … he needed a list of what everybody had as far as comparable model size, year and everything else,” Seidel said. “He said he would get it taken care of, he would pull his resources between his Concord and Marion stores to make it happen.”
Anyone looking to get involved with Let’s Act Burke County can find the group or any of its chapters on Facebook, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org