Commmunity members save family heirlooms from Draper couple’s flooded basement
Aug 4, 2023, 11:03 PM | Updated: 11:46 pm
DRAPER, Utah — A Draper couple is feeling thankful for what happened right after their basement completely flooded. The elderly couple was in no position to save hundreds of years old family mementos, so dozens stepped in to help.
Behind every single family heirloom in the Hoffman home, is a story.
From an antique clock to original Avon glass product bottles, to photos dating back to the 1800s, Kent and Sandy Hoffman have a lot of treasures that have been passed down from their parents and grandparents.
Standing in her backyard over a table covered with family photos layered in between parchment paper, Sandy looked down at portraits of her great aunt and uncle.
“They were in the 1800s, so that’s a lot of history right there,” she said.
Next to that, sat a photo of a young woman taken decades ago.
“That was my mother,” Sandy said. “I was a little girl when she had that taken.”
The treasures that mean something to Kent and Sandy are now in the trash and sprawled across their backyard.
Normally everything is kept safe in the basement. But Thursday night, as the couple was heading to bed, Kent went downstairs to find water had blown out their basement window and was pouring in across the entire floor.
“Near six inches of water in the basement here, just, holy cow! I mean, it happened all at once,” Kent recounted. “The drainage system was just overpowered, and the catch basin filled up, and the water had to go someplace. It came over next to the fence, and then went underneath the fence.”
He’s talking about a drainage basin on the other side of their fence. It blew through the fence and straight toward their home.
“What can you do?” Sandy wondered.
As the water rose, the family treasures sunk in the mud. They watched the flood destroy decades of family history.
They couldn’t clean it up themselves or carry everything up on their own. The couple went to bed, not knowing what they could save.
Thankfully, first thing Friday morning, tons of people showed up on their doorstep.
“We had so many neighbors and people from The Church and people we didn’t even know come out,” Sandy said.
Mason North was one of those people, driving up from Highland when he found out the couple needed help. He is a grandnephew of the Hoffmans.
“I was kind of like the brawn, you know,” he said. “I really just helped out with all the furniture, and all the nightstands and desks.”
He and the others stripped down the basement, bringing up the family heirlooms. They spent all day cleaning and clearing, bringing it all into the backyard.
“It was crazy to see how many people actually came and showed up,” North said. “It’s really awesome what a community can do, you know, when everybody comes together.”
The Hoffmans have lost some of those treasures, but seeing so many people save what means something to Kent and Sandy– meant everything to them.
“They didn’t stop,” Sandy said. “They just helped, and helped, and helped, and I’m so grateful for them.”
“Great people around here,” Kent echoed. “Yeah, great people.”
There were multiple homes that flooded in that storm Thursday.
Draper’s City Manager said their system is designed to handle a 100-year storm, meaning about an inch of rain over three hours.
In this case, he says it was more like a 500-year event with more than two inches of rain coming down in less than an hour.
The water overwhelmed the system, and in many cases, did not make it to the drains.