LAMOILLE COUNTY, Vt. – Nate Cloutier had his Vermont home destroyed in July when the worst flooding event in nearly 100 years hit the state.
Up to 9 inches of rain fell in parts of the state, causing rivers to surge and flood streets, homes and businesses. The event is second only to the Vermont flood of 1927, the greatest natural disaster in the state's history.
The July flood filled Cloutier’s home with one foot of water and, after the water receded, left behind a layer of sludge measuring about six inches deep.
Four months after the disaster, Cloutier has been working to rebuild his home. He said some friends, including one from his Army days, came by to help clean up the mess.
In addition to destroying his home, the floodwater also destroyed many irreplaceable items, such as his belongings while in the Army and his grandfather’s Navy uniform from World War II.
Cloutier said that being in the military has been a pivotal part of his life.
"It's made me the man I am today," he told FOX Weather multimedia journalist Katie Byne. "It's given me those core values, and I was always proud to wear the uniform."
However, as he works to rebuild and renovate his home after the historic flood, Cloutier is reminded of the injuries he sustained while deployed. He noted how he was hit with an IED, or improvised explosive device, while in Iraq.
"I hurt my back and my neck, and it's tough," he said. "I push through, and as we always say in the Army, embrace the suck. So, I'm embracing a lot of suck right now."
Cloutier continues to do the work by himself as finding contractors has been difficult, given the high demand from a number of Vermont residents looking for help to fix their damaged homes.
As a one-man Army, Cloutier aims to bring his home to a condition that would allow him to host Christmas for his family.
"They're all asking if we're going to have Christmas, ‘When are we going to put up the tree?’" he said. "So, that's like my motivation for all that."
He has spent about $40,000 on repairs and said all the work will be completed by 2025.
Original article source: Army veteran rebuilds home after historic flooding in Vermont