On September 8th, Tropical Storm Lee pounded the northern Virginia area with torrential rain causing massive flash floods in the community of Holly Acres, in Woodbridge. The mobile home community was crushed with flood water up to 12 feet high. Apparently, when flood waters receded back into the creek, over a dozen of the homes were moved from their foundations creating a damn at the bottom of a slope. Water levels began to rise throughout the community, first covering the floor and soon up to the rafters.
Seven Leesylvania State Park employees and their families had to evacuate their homes along with at least 100 other residents, leaving behind all their belongings. People scrambled for safety, some were rescued in canoes as cars washed away only to be found turned over on their side the following day.Police, Fire and Rescue crews along with county officials were on the scene. Inspectors went through and posted notes on the doors ofthe homes condemning them, not allowing the tenants to reenter for any reason at all.
Possessions were lost, destroyed and if they were salvaged it was all they had. Sewage water, inches of mud, debris and water was everywhere. Residents were relocated to community shelters and a local high school. County officials and the American Red Cross have been working with the victims of the flooding, although it is unclear as to how long they can provide the shelters. The staff members of Leesylvania and their families, are currently living with other staff of the park. Some are living with friends, others are still in shelters.
Volunteers help staff sort through donations
"These families' immediate and greatest need is housing. If you have property or know of properties that these families could rent, and that would waive a security deposit, and/or first and last month rents, please let us know," according to First Sergeant Ruben D. Castilla of Prince William County Police.
Leesylvania has been collecting donations for the flood victims and distributing directly to those in need. Park Management contacted the Virginia State Park Benevolence Fund to provide monetary assistance. The Friends of Leesylvania generously made a donation on behalf of the Fund to support the staff members that were victims. Volunteers from within the community have been amazing, with in kind donations of all types. What started with a local community’s disaster, has quickly grown into a state-wide relief effort, thanks to all the volunteers. Donations are being delivered to the park from our sister parks across the state.
Donate to all families throughThe Prince William County School System and Prince William County government.Theyare working together to collect monetary donations as well. Donations will be handled by Prince William County Schools.
Anyone wishing to donate to the park staffflood victims through theBenevolence Fund can sendto:
Virginia State Parks Benevolence Fund