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Nonprofit helping ranchers and residents of Carbon County rebuild after floods

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Posted at 4:46 PM, Oct 03, 2022

FROMBERG — Carbon County is still feeling the effects of the devastating floods, from the ag community to the towns of Fromberg and Roscoe. But one nonprofit has launched a new program to reach every affected household to get them the help they need.

The floods may have come and gone but for the residents and ranchers of Carbon County, the impact is long term.

“The water demolished our corral system that we have, to be able to adequately work,” said Bridger rancher Shala Cullum on Thursday.

Cullum’s entire cattle operation in Bridger was destroyed. She’s housing her horses at the Bridger Rodeo Grounds because all her pens were damaged by the flooding.

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“As an ag producer, you’re almost forced to decide, do you sell your cows, do you start over again?” Cullum said.

She’s just one of many ranchers now trying to decide whether to rebuild or call it quits.

“This whole group of ag people are not eligible for public funds as far as FEMA or SBA,” said Cullum.

Tina Foust is also among the many Fromberg residents still dealing with water damage. Some in this town now have mold-infested properties that they’re trying to fix without getting sick.

“We have people that are still dealing with water in their basements because the river’s still high, it’s rerouted, it’s closer to the shore than what it’s used to be,” Foust said.

That firsthand experience from the floods made Cullum and Foust the perfect candidates to help with the recovery. Both were just hired on as disaster relief navigators for the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation.

Tesla Palmatier is the director of programs at the foundation.

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“As of yesterday, we had about 50 folks, 50 households, enrolled in our disaster recovery program. We know that there’s over 300 people registered with FEMA so we know we’re missing people,” said Palmatier.

They’re now focused on making sure folks in Carbon County get the help they need, whether it's FEMA or Small Business Administration appeals, or working with charitable organizations to get donations.

“Our job is to, when someone says, hey I have this resource, to connect it with the person that needs it most,” Palmatier said.

That’s where Foust and Cullum come in. The two women, still dealing with the aftermath of the floods firsthand, are among the many pitching in to help their communities in any way they can.

“People always tell me, you know you’re not related to anybody over there, but it doesn’t matter. These people are my friends, they’re my neighbors, they’re my family,” Foust said.

The Red Lodge Area Community Foundation urges anyone in Carbon County that’s in need of any assistance, resources, or help to contact them at Home - The Red Lodge Area Community Foundation (rlacf.org).

The foundation is also taking donations for the Carbon County Disaster Relief Fund as well as the One Valley Ag Relief Fund.