CUs Weather Storms, Snow; For 1, Just-Fixed Branch Flooded

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Ohio Valley Community Credit Union officials were mopping up last weekend after the Ohio River flooded, causing major damage to two of its five branches for the second time in less than four months.

Muddy water filled both the Marietta branch, located on the banks of the Ohio River, and its Clarington branch, about 57 miles away and also along the shoreline, causing extensive damage to drywall and teller counters.

"We are definitely looking for a new location on higher ground," said Robyn McGuire, OVCCU Human Resources and Operations Manager. "We can't keep doing this."

Fortunately, officials were "wiser this time," removing anything and everything that could be moved before the flood hit, McGuire said. "The branch manager in Marietta had been watching the river levels and called Wednesday afternoon and said maybe we better started moving stuff out. So, we hired a moving company to put everything in storage."

By late Friday, the Ohio River swelled to 42 feet-11 feet above flood stage-filling businesses near the banks with the remains of melted snow and rain. At its peak-43.3 feet-the water level was 20 inches lower than the hurricane-spawned flood that caused major damage to nearly 1,000 businesses and residences on Sept. 17.

The Marietta branch was filled with five feet of water-"one foot lower than it was last time"-destroying the new countertops and teller stations installed after the last flooding damage on Sept. 17, McGuire said.

"We just stood there with our hands on our hips," McGuire said. "When the last one hit-the worst in 40 years-we figured it would be another 40 years before anything like this happened again. This was less than four months."

McGuire said the Clarington branch basement that had recently been renovated but remained empty was also filled to the ceiling with water. And, unlike the last flood that stopped just short of the basement ceiling, she said, this latest disaster rose into the foyer and entryway of the first floor.

"We had just gotten the new branch doors installed in Clarington," she said, recalling that the previous doors had been destroyed during the September flood. The decision to replace the old wood doors with glass was questioned during the weekend clean-up when staff saw a "humongous piece of wood" floating in their direction from the flooded street.

"A lady across the street at the bakery was yelling," she said. Luckily, a boy in a rowboat bolted toward the wood and grabbed it. "It would have gone right through our new glass door," McGuire said. "We're lucky people here are looking out for each other."

McGuire said she was especially appreciative of Clarington's volunteer firefighters who worked tirelessly to pump the water from the CU's basement.

"If we didn't have people like them here, I don't know how we would get through this."

McGuire did say both branches were operating on Monday morning, but with minimal supplies.

"We spent all weekend scrubbing and cleaning so we could open on Monday," she said. "There are no phone lines and no computer lines, just a chair and a table and a cash drawer. We work hard to make sure our members have access to their money."

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