West Nanticoke, Luzerne County-- For the first time since the flood waters hit our area--our cameras have been granted access to some communities down the river from Wilkes-Barre.
Monumental cleanup efforts are underway in West Nanticoke.
It is a scene that is playing out in virtually every municipality here along the Susquehanna River-- unbelievable devastation, and an undoubtedly long road to recovery.
But also, an undeniable sense of togetherness and community among everyone affected.
Tilbury Volunteer Fire Chief Barry Lore pointed out, "You can see the watermark on the wall there..."
Even as their own firehouse-- and many of their own homes-- flooded, members of the Tilbury Volunteer Fire Company spent days rescuing and assisting the people of West Nanticoke.
Lore lamented, "It's devastating. It rips your heart out and makes you think of all the families that are displaced and not having the things they used to have, personal belongings, pictures, things that they lost. But at the same time, it does bring the community together."
Now, as the cleanup begins, the help is literally flooding in, from firefighters and volunteers from near and far.
Hawley Fire Chief Gene Krause explained, "It's just a big family. Everybody comes out and helps everybody. We reached out to help, and we're here to help and do whatever we can."
Many say they just couldn't bear the thought of sitting idly by while their neighbors struggled.
Volunteer Alia Goodrich, of Plymouth, said, "If this would be me right now, I would hope that I would have a whole bunch of kids that have a home that would help me and just give their hands, because right now they need manpower to move things out of their house."
Like so many other places, Banko's Restaurant took on a ton of water-- up to the roof-- at one point.
David Alberola, a friend of the restaurant's owner, noted, "The flood waters came up very quickly. We got out as quickly as we could. Got all of the equipment out, saved all of the kitchen equipment, which is the most important part, of course."
But with an almost superhuman sense of resolve, people at this restaurant and at so many other properties in West Nanticoke will be back-- because this community, as a whole, wouldn't have it any other way.
Alberola continued, "A lot of loyal customers, a lot of good friends, have showed up and helped out a ton. We will rebuild. Jeff has a big heart, he's got what it takes to make it happen."
The Tilbury Volunteer Fire Company has also been offering food and drink to flood victims.
They asked us to reiterate their thanks to all the people who have volunteered their help.