Wells Island resident gets some help to rebuild after flooding

Wells Island resident gets some help to rebuild after flooding
Charchio's home on Wells Island Road
An electrician is beginning to re-wire his home
An electrician is beginning to re-wire his home

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - It's a generous gift that just keeps on giving.

"No idea at all, much more than I ever expected," said Sammy Charchio, a Wells Island Road resident.

Charchio's home was flooded when the Red River spilled over its banks in June.

Initially, he was not able to get help from the government or the city.

But Wednesday, he got a generous a donation, and the best part about it, he is choosing to pay it forward.

We first met Charchio a little over a month ago when we spotted him sitting in the shade on a bucket, waiting for someone to turn his electricity back on, unsure if he would ever move back inside.

Now, he is getting the much needed help that will allow him to move back into his home.

"I just couldn't start over again some place, you know what I mean? I just really couldn't," explained Charchio.

Charchio has lived on Wells Island Road more than 60 years. The Red River's flooding forced him from his beloved home, and he did not know if or when he would be able to move back.

"In my mind I just said 'you know I'm just going to leave it alone, I'll just live here,'" said Charchio.

He is talking about a camper he bought after the flooding, which sits just a few feet away from the skeleton of his home. But that was not good enough for several people who heard Sammy's story.

John Phelan, a Shreveport firefighter and local filmmaker, first met Sammy with several of his co-workers at the Shreveport Fire Department as the waters started rising.

"We were out checking the water levels every 12 hours before the flood started and he happened to be out driving around and pulled us over and we started having a conversation and just hit it off from there. We'd come back and check on him every day," said Phelan.

After seeing Charchio's story on KSLA News 12, Phelan made a documentary to help raise money for Charchio. So far, they have raised almost $2,000, and have an electrician and plumber who have offered their services for free to fix Charchio's home.

Wednesday, they were able to give Charchio the first bit of the money raised which was $1,440. That money was from 22 different donors. Sammy could only say one thing when he heard the news, "awesome."

"It's just a big relief to see him finally be able to move back into his house. There's a lot of work he's had to do on his own, but we're just glad to help with anything we can," said Fernando Gonzales, a co-worker with Phelan.

Because of the generosity of strangers, Charchio said he is going to take some of the money donated and buy gift cards for other residents of Wells Island Road to help them out.

"From the bottom of my heart to each one that contributed to me, not knowing me, God Bless you and I'll always remember it," said Charchio.

Charchio is also in the process of getting $16,500 for materials from the Caddo Commission. Phelan is going to be bringing more money to Charchio Thursday morning.

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