Who: Like many other families with kids, the Hricenak clan of Dickson City is always on the go. Their two kids, Natalie and Nicholas, are involved in lots of activities, including baseball and softball, while dad Dennis is a teacher and tri-varsity coach and mom Mary Beth is a social worker. They’re a good family and “the most kind and supportive people we know,” neighbor Debra Bell said.
“This family is the type of family that would roll up their sleeves and help others whenever asked,” she added.
What: The Hricenaks had just gone to bed on the night of May 4 when they heard water and what sounded like a tornado going through their house, Mary Beth said. They headed downstairs and discovered water flowing into their living room, one of several homes in Dickson City affected by heavy rains and subsequent flooding that night.
“Day by day, we are finding more damage,” Mary Beth said. “The water was so powerful it blew out our retaining wall that had drainage in it, as well as the drainage on both sides of our house. The retaining wall fell on our pool.”
They found 3 feet of water in their basement, the result of runoff from Scott Street, which destroyed their month-old furnace and items stored there. It ultimately blew out the back wall to their garage, and water washed out a lot of their driveway. Their living room ended up with about 4 inches of water, which also ruined supplies for a bathroom they were fixing up on that floor for an ailing relative.
Neighbors and the Dickson City Fire Department came by to help pump out the water.
“We are blessed to be in this town with so many people that care about each other, that watch out for each other and that are there whenever someone is in need,” Bell said.
Why: Life at the moment is stressful for her family, Mary Beth said. They not only must repair their home but also continue with their day-to-day life.
“We are always in season, and baseball/softball is always super busy … so it has been emotionally draining trying to figure out all the problems,” Mary Beth said.
At the moment, the furnace is their main concern, Mary Beth noted, but they also must repair and rebuild their retaining wall and potentially add drainage to the top of the property to protect their living room, garage and pool.
How: Bell set up a GoFundMe page, “Help the Hricenak Family repair their flood damage,” to give her neighbors “a solid head start toward repairing their home and allowing them to focus on getting their lives back in order.” The response they received so far, from not only people they know but also strangers, has overwhelmed the Hricenaks, Bell said. They feel humble and grateful and “have even vowed to pay it forward,” she added.
“They realize there are others that are in worse circumstances than themselves, and they never expected to receive such an outpouring of generosity,” Bell said. “I know that they would want any further donations to go to help others that may be in need in our community or in other communities.”
In her own words: “We are extremely grateful for all the friends, family and community support helping us during this difficult time.” — Mary Beth Hricenak
Caitlin Heaney West is the content editor for Access NEPA and oversees the Early Access blog in addition to working as a copy editor and staff writer for The Times-Tribune. An award-winning journalist, she is a summa cum laude graduate of Shippensburg University and also earned a master’s degree from Marywood University. Caitlin joined the Times-Shamrock family in 2009 and lives in Scranton. Contact: email@example.com; 570-348-9100 x5107; or @cheaneywest