Huntsville woman donates furniture to Fort Payne visitor center after Easter Sunday storms
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DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. – Workers are still clearing the mess left behind after floodwaters from Easter Sunday ravaged their businesses.

A week ago, WHNT News 19 covered flood damage to the Fort Payne visitor center. A WHNT viewer saw that story and found the perfect opportunity to help the the Tourist Information Center feel at home when things dry up.

The flood damage was pretty bad. Wills Creek overflowed and topped off every desk and chair at the visitor center, as well as the Chinese restaurant across the parking lot.

The flood destroyed 67 years worth of printed historical documents, but the visitor center was able to salvage 100 percent of data on the computer hard drives.

DeKalb Tourism President John Dersham said the business lost $70,000 dollars in damages. As of Tuesday, the water is gone, along with everything that it touched.

“And we have to get all new furnishings,” said Dersham.

That furniture is an hour and a half away from Fort Payne. Within hours of the original story airing, a WHNT news viewer wanted to help.

“Wendy Owens in Huntsville saw your newscast,” said Dersham.

And that’s when WHNT connected Dersham and Owens.

“My mom just so happened to be watching the news and saw the story of the visitor center,” said Owens. “So she called me and said hey you need to get in touch with the news and let them know you have this furniture.”

And it’s practically new. She kept the desks in storage until she figured out who would need them more.

“We greatly appreciate your donation,” said Dersham. “It’s fantastic.”

That’s one less expense the visitor center will have to pay.

The DeKalb County Economic Authority shares the building with the visitor center. Floodwaters from Easter Sunday caused just as much damage.

It suffered a $50,000 loss in furnishings and computer equipment. The economic authority said workers saved a lot printed documents that were on the top shelves. Fortunately, they were able to restore the computer hard drives too.

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