BOONE COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) - Last week's rains took a heavy toll on Boone County. Among those hit hard was Lebanon homeowner Myrtle Bailey.
Her losses were not just personal. They could affect more than 1,000 area children.
You can't tell from looking now, but at 6 a.m. Friday April 19, after a night of relenting rain, her yard was the first sign Myrtle Bailey knew she was in trouble.
"I looked out in the back yard and I thought, oh my Lord. It was probably 3 feet deep in the backyard," she says, remembering that moment.
And that was just the start.
"I don't know, something just told me to open the door and look in the basement. I couldn't believe it. All I could see was one step. I've thought oh my god we've lost everything down there," she says.
When Myrtle says everything, she's not talking about her furnace and hot water heater, which had to be replaced. She's talking about $15,000 – $20,000 in toys – new and gently used – stored there to be handed out to Boone County kids.
"It just made me sick. I thought, this can't be. But it was too late then. There was nothing that we could do," she said.
Myrtle started 35 years ago, and the toy drive has become a community effort, helping more than 1,300 children in Boone County this past Christmas.
Losing the toys is tough, but tougher still is that Myrtle lost her husband and toy drive partner Richard in December. On top of all of that, Myrtle found out, her insurance will not cover the flooding losses.
But don't expect her to give up.
"No way. These kids has to have Christmas. And I'll never give up. God wouldn't want me to give up," she says, her voice cracking.
Myrtle, who is 84, says in the 43 years she has lived in her home, this is the first time it has flooded. But she intends to put all that behind her and start getting toys again.
If you would like to help, you can call 765-482-4641.
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