2017 Western Kenosha County flood victim benefit coverage (VIDEO & PHOTOS)

Hundreds of local residents turned out Sunday for a benefit for Western Kenosha County victims of flooding caused by heavy rains in mid July.

The event was held at Bella Vita Banquets in New Munster. It featured a variety of raffles and auctions, with all proceeds to be distributed to flood victims by a committee made up of representatives of The Sharing Center and American Red Cross.

“We’re hoping to raise a lot of money to help people out,” said Brian Boeckenstedt of Bella Vita Banquets.

Toward the end of the event, several people who played various roles in the clean-up and recovery efforts spoke. In several of those people’s comments, a theme of volunteerism — and keeping that spirit going — emerged.

“This is truly what community is all about,” said State Rep. Samantha Kerkman.

Sharon Pomaville, executive director of The Sharing Center, said she has heard over and over from the volunteers in the flood relief effort about how good it felt to help others, She urged the audience to not let go of that feeling:

The time you invest into your community to help others it transforms life in ways we don’t always immediately see. And that love we give one another, that compassion without judgment, that type of love can heal … I challenge you and I ask you and I almost beg you don’t let the feeling you had of compassion without judgment fade.”

Salem Lakes Trustee Ted Kmiec talked about his time volunteering with the flood rats and how it affected him:

The heart of America is still beating strong … It has left me with an incredible hope for the future … There’s a lot left to do and I am convinced the members of all our local communities are going to answer that bell.”

Allen Dunski, who lives near the Fox River and had flooding in his own home, described his efforts to get a few people together to help his neighbors. His outreach efforts resulted in 300 volunteers putting in over 3,000 volunteers hours to help flood victims along the river.

“It sprang into something that was just unreal,” Dunski said.

Here is video of Dunski’s comments:

Here is video of highlights of the other speeches:

Here are some more photos:


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