Arlington, VA

Weeks after flooding ravaged homes and businesses in Westover, nearly a dozen neighbors came together to help one family get at least one piece of their life back together.

After Wendy Naus put out a message on the neighborhood’s group-text chain asking if anyone was available to help move her shed, which was washed across the yard by floodwaters, around ten people showed up and spent two hours gradually shifting the large, blue shed back into its former position.

Some of those who came to help still have not moved back into their own flood-damaged homes, said Naus.

“On the one hand I’m in awe of these people, many of whom still aren’t living in their homes,” she said. “On the other hand, I’m not surprised,” given the close-knit nature of the community.

“I’m more shocked that it worked,” Naus added. “The look on everyone’s face when we moved it… we were shocked that it worked.”

Naus jacked the building up onto cinder blocks, and the neighbors laid planks down across the yard like tracks to slide it back into position. A time-lapse video she shared (below) shows the painstaking work in progress.

Naus said this is just the latest example of how the neighborhood has rallied and helped each other in the days and weeks after floods swept through many local homes. When Naus needed some help dismantling the damaged tiles in her basement, five locals showed up to help clear away the rubble.

“The same group of neighbors on this one small block have all been helping each other out over the last few weeks,” Naus said. “I’ve been hashtagging ‘#BestBlockInAmerica’ for weeks.”

But for the residents of Westover, normalcy is still out of reach.

“It’s been slow,” Naus said. “The air conditioning has been replaced and our missing door and windows have been boarded up. It’s safe, but not it’s just the waiting game for longer-term things. We’re still waiting to hear back from the County on mitigation plans for the future since everyone’s reluctant to work on their basements. It’s still livable, but there’s a long road ahead.”

In the meantime, Naus said it was nice to see everyone smiling and happy at a small celebration after the shed was moved back.

“We all just needed a win,” Naus said. “The shed symbolizes a tangible thing that’s sort of a positive in the aftermath of this flood. It was a morale boost for us.”

Photos 1 & 2 courtesy Wendy Naus

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