Words get caught in Eric Tucker’s throat, his face flushing and eyes turning watery, as he tries to describe his gratitude to one of the men who helped restore his home and his life after the October flood.
“He’s helped us when he didn’t even have to,” Tucker said. “This guy is absolutely a saint.”
Tucker and his Forest Lake Place condominium neighbors welcomed their “angels,” as one resident described them, for a thank-you party Saturday honoring the restorative work they have done over nearly the past eight months.
Look at all the blessings that came out of something like this.
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Water from Forest Lake rushed through more than a dozen condos at Forest Lake Place, tucked behind the Tuesday Morning store off Forest Drive near Trenholm Road, on Oct. 4.
In the days following that Sunday morning, residents returned to gut their homes and save what they could. Among the horde of helpers that arrived, too, was Ryan Horton, who lives up the road in an unharmed neighborhood and arrived at the condos with miniature excavators.
Tucker, who shares a condo with his partner, Paul Leo, had experienced the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and said he was wary of “carpetbaggers” and negative characters swooping in on victims.
“I was like, ‘What do you want?’ And he was like, ‘I’m just here to help,’” Tucker said. “He said, ‘I’m not charging. I’m just a neighbor, and I want to come help.’”
Days, weeks and months went by after the flood, and Horton and his Indigo Construction crew, along with a crew of men from Fogle & Sons Electric, became and stayed a part of the Forest Lake Place condo community.
Have you ever had an electrician that called on Easter to see if you had family?
“Have you ever had an electrician that called on Easter to see if you had family? Or a finishing carpenter who called on Mother’s Day to wish you Happy Mother’s Day?” said Carolee Watt. “That’s the connection that was made.”
Watt’s condo was the second to become livable again, after Tucker’s and Leo’s. Eight of the flooded condos are occupied again; 10 others still aren’t.
The Indigo and Fogle men went “above and beyond” their job descriptions in helping the Forest Lake Place residents after the flood, Watt said.
“We were just treating people like we would have wanted to be treated,” said Kevin Harris, project manager for Indigo Construction.
Horton also has paid his men to clean out Gills Creek near the condos at no cost to the residents, Tucker said. And the crew began doing infrastructure work on the condos even before the residents and homeowners association found out for sure they had the money to pay him.
We were just treating people like we would have wanted to be treated.
“Who does that? Who spends hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket?” Tucker said. “(Horton) just kept doing it on faith. I said, ‘Ryan, what if the money never comes through?’ He said, ‘Then it’ll be a gift.’”
Tucker echoed the same sentiments so many flood survivors have shared as he described the blessing of the Indigo and Fogle men to his community.
“People say, when a flood happens, ‘Oh, look at all the bad stuff,’” Tucker said. “Well, I say, ‘Look at all the good stuff.’ Look at all the new friends we have. Look at all the people that we love now and love us and love everybody here.
“Look at all the blessings that came out of something like this.”
Reach Ellis at (803) 771-8307.