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Maryland men’s basketball junior forward Donta Scott wasn’t his usual self during practice Tuesday, and his teammates could tell.
As the remnants of Tropical Depression Ida tore through the Northeast two weeks ago, Scott’s longtime family home in Norristown, Pennsylvania, took the brunt of that severe weather and flooded. Now, the thought of his family’s home possibly being lost forever has finally taken its toll on him.
“I try not to think about it that much,” Scott said. “My mom raised us to fend for ourselves, have faith that people are going to do whatever they can try to do to help. And I’m just going to have my family’s back while I’m still here.”
Scott launched a GoFundMe page, which, as of Wednesday afternoon, has raised more than $40,000 of its $50,000 goal in less than 24 hours to help cover costs. Scott’s current and former Maryland teammates as well as head coach Mark Turgeon have used social media to get the word out. The forward said the donations have shown him that there are people in the world who care about doing the right thing.
“It shows you can believe in people,” Scott said. “People still have good intentions in them. If somebody is down, they want to help pick them up. It’s showing me that people still have a lot to give in the world.”
The flooding started the evening of Sept. 1, the same day a tornado ripped through Anne Arundel County and left a path of destruction in its wake in the Annapolis and Edgewater areas, and carried into the next day. Scott’s mother, Sandra Campbell, didn’t think the flooding wasn’t going to be bad until she watched the water begin to move rapidly throughout the house. Water started filling the basement before rising to the second level of her home. Water burst through the air vents, knocking over the freezer, destroying the kitchen and the entire first floor.
Scott’s stepfather, Dwayne Campbell, rushed outside the house to move the cars away from the water. Campbell, 59, moved two cars, but when he got to the Mercedes-Benz, water began flowing out of the vehicle when he opened the door. He and a few neighbors pushed the car two blocks, as water crept up to their waist.
“It’s unbelievable,” Sandra said. “For a couple of years they did a project and put in all new drains. I assumed once they did that, we [would] never have flooding like we had.”
Sandra, 54, told her grandchildren, Keyon, 12, and Qaai’m, 9, to grab as many belongings as possible before evacuating. Sandra, Campbell, and the grandchildren were rescued by a boat and taken to safety. Sandra and Campbell are currently living in a hotel, while Keyon and Qaai’m are staying with the parents’ daughter, Raysandra.
This was the eighth time since 2010 Sandra’s house has flooded, Campbell said. There was flooding last year, but it was confined to the basement. This time, Scott’s family lost televisions, laptops, dining room furniture and other personal items.
“I’m devastated,” Campbell said. “I was not mentally prepared for such a tragedy like this.”
More than 50 people died in the Northeast as Ida’s path of destruction caused severe flooding in places like New York City, New Jersey and elsewhere in Pennsylvania.
Scott didn’t know about his family’s home being flooded until the following day. Sandra has never wanted her son to worry about things that are out of his control.
“My mom always keeps a strong mentality,” Scott said. “But I know it pains her because that’s a place she grew up in and my grandmother grew up in.”
Dorothy, Scott’s grandmother, has lived in the Norristown home for 91 years and Scott lived there while he was in middle school. He said there are “a lot of memories in there. It’s hard to know that the house may not be there anymore.”
Sandra is still trying to process everything so she can get a sense of what the next steps will be, but she fears her longtime family home is beyond repair.
“It’s moldy now,” Sandra said. “I’m still waiting for people to come in to check up on the property because we have flood insurance. But it only covers a certain amount. Last year, we just replaced the heater and the electric boxes [because] the whole basement was underneath water.”