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Communities Coming Together to Remember

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized

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Published on September 07, 2010 with No Comments

By Carl Kurek

On Tuesday, Sept. 14, Lakeshore Area Regional Recovery of Indiana (LARRI) will observe the second anniversary of the flooding that ultimately caused damage to almost 18,000 homes throughout Northwest Indiana.
Excessive rainfall throughout the early weeks of September of 2008 led to substantial flooding throughout region. As a result, countless were forced to abandon their homes, an entire neighborhood in Munster was evacuated and parts of Interstate 80/94 were shut down.
LARRI is a long-term recovery committee that was formed to assist the survivors of the September 2008 floods in restoring their homes to a safe, sanitary and secure standard.

They have been in charge of coordinating flood-related disaster recovery in Northwest Indiana by sharing information, simplifying resident’s access to services and jointly resolving cases with natural disaster-caused needs. Since its inception, LARRI has overseen 3,345 projects.
“We know there is a lot of healing that still is needed,” LARRI Executive Director Jane Delligatti said. “This is a time when people come together, share their experiences from the flood and gain strength from one another.”
The event entitled “Remembering the Past, Hope for the Future” will take place at several locations on the day chosen to remember the events that took place two years ago. Members of LARRI along with flood survivors and their families, friends and volunteers will begin the commemorative events of the day at Southside Christian Church in Munster at 9 a.m.
At noon, there will be another gathering at Gary Neighborhood Services in Gary, followed by a 3 p.m. assembly at Iglesia De Dios Pentecostal in Lake Station, and a get-together at Catholic Charities in Michigan City at 5 p.m. The group will then wrap up the day’s events at Frank J. Gilbert, Jr. Memorial Park in Portage at 7 p.m.
“As we approach the two year anniversary of the flood, we reflect on how many lives were affected by the disaster and know that in restoring homes, we’re also helping restore hope for the future,” Steve Conger, Pastor at Ridge United Methodist Church in Munster and president of the LARRI Steering Committee, said.Delligatti said that people often wonder why the recovery process is still ongoing after two years, but she points out that most of the financial support comes from grants funded through the United Ways of the area as well as private donors. Likewise, most of the construction is done through volunteers.
Volunteers are our lifeline and people’s lives change,” Delligatti said explaining why the number of volunteers fluctuates. “We would like to get more local volunteers though because most of our volunteers are national.”
To date, about 4,349 local, state and national volunteers have worked to make up over 180,400 hours of volunteer labor. With the help of these volunteers, LARRI has seen 532 total construction cases through to the end.
LARRI recently received a $2 million grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. that will be used to purchase construction materials to be used in the remainder of the group’s efforts.
“We’ve been able to make great inroads in the recovery process,” Delligatti said. “We’ve been blessed in so many ways by the kindness and generosity of volunteers, but there’s an ongoing need for help as our work continues.”
Leroy’s Hot Stuff of Porter will be supporting LARRI with their Last Ride of the Season fundraiser on Sunday, Oct. 3 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.  Leroy is so compassionate about all of the causes that are out there, he really is amazing,” Delligatti said.
All vehicles are welcomed to take part in the ride through Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties after giving a $10 donation. Registration for the event will be from 11 a.m. until noon, and there will also be breakfast available at 10 a.m. for $6, as well as a silent auction, live entertainment and food after the ride is over.Delligatti hopes the fact that this is the last ride that Leroy is sponsoring for the season will bring a large crowd saying that many riders will not have another chance to take their motorcycles out for a ride like this again until next spring.
For more information about LARRI, call 219-836-1325, or visit www.larri.info

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