Red Cross and community help RV park residents recover from flood waters

Even before an American Red Cross emergency response vehicle dropped off 100 meals at the Mission Farm RV Park in San Juan Bautista on March 21, eager residents lined up for lunch, happy to get some fuel for the difficult job of trying to clean up the damage done by flooding to their community 11 days earlier. 

Mission Farm RV Park homeowner, Kerry Dickie, thanks American Red Cross volunteers for the cleanup kits and food delivered to his neighbors. Photo by Jaka Vinsek/American Red Cross

Kerry Dickie was among them. Dickie said he lost his mobile home and about 70 percent of his possessions to the flooding and mud that followed. Dickie said that even before waters from several adjacent creeks and a nearby subdivision’s retention pond started pouring into the park, he and his son found their way out was blocked by flooded streets strewn with large underwater rocks.  

As water started to come in, the two tried to move his collections from an enclosed porch into his 1986 Avion mobile home. By the time they got everything into the mobile home, water was knee high.  

The two took one of their vehicles to dry land but by the time they came back to move the other, water had already crept inside the mobile home.  

While the water receded within about 24 hours, when Dickie returned home, he found 1.5 feet of standing water inside. The enclosed porch was totaled as is his mobile home.  

“It’s just a horrible muddy mess,” Dickie said.  

Red Cross volunteer Roberta Jones and Leslie Jordan, mayor of San Juan Bautista, unload meals for residents of the Mission Farm RV Park. Photo by Barbara Wood/American Red Cross

“I’m kind of wondering what my next house is going to look like because this one’s not habitable any more,” Dickie said. He said he will probably look for a used mobile home to replace the one destroyed by the water.  

He’s not one to take handouts, Dickie said, but “when you need help, you need help.”  

Residents of the park have been helping each other recover from the flooding, which affected some of the recreational vehicles more than others. Kurt Kurasaki, whose father built the park in the 70s, says he tried to come out to assess the storm damage on March 10th, but couldn’t get through the flooded roads. When he trudged in through the water he saw the berm he had built to raise the heights of a nearby creek bed by a foot was about to be overtopped. Kurasaki started going door to door telling residents of the 70 recreational vehicles and mobile homes on the property to evacuate.  

Kerry Dickie thanks Red Cross volunteers Mary Marcus and Hideaki Yamazaki for the cleanup kits. Photo by Jaka Vinsek/American Red Cross

Not everyone left. Some people were at work, Kurasaki says, some “opted to ride it out” and some didn’t have a vehicle to get out with.  

Kurasaki said the park had flooded once before, but it was two decades ago.  

Now, those who had less damage are helping those with more damage to remove their trashed belongings.  

Leslie Jordan, the mayor of San Juan Bautista, and other volunteers came in Tuesday and Wednesday to help serve the food and promised to come back as long as the deliveries lasted. Earlier in the week, more San Juan Bautista residents came out for a work party to help their flooded neighbors.  

“This is our community,” Jordan said.