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Community raises money to fix Springdale volunteer medical clinic destroyed by flash floods

Posted at 10:48 PM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-13 18:47:05-04

SPRINGDALE, Utah — A lot can happen in a week, as Michael and Helen McMahan can attest to.

The couple have volunteered for years at Zion Canyon Medical Clinic. Instead of treating injured hikers over the past week and change, they've had to triage the clinic's building that was heavily damaged by the historic flash floods that ripped through town on June 29.

READ: Cleanup could take weeks after flash floods rip through Southern Utah

The clinic has been closed during that week, and the McMahans say they've had to turn people away.

Over Zoom Thursday, Helen walked around the clinic and showed off what they've fixed so far.

She pointed the cell phone camera toward gaping holes in the floor, where boards have been ripped out.

"Here is our new floor," she said, of the exposed wood that covered other areas of the floor. She moved the phone closer to the holes, exposing the dirt below. "Down there you can see the mud is drying. It looks real good."

The mid-renovation look is a long way from where the building was more than a week ago, when the rock, debris, mud and rain tore through Springdale and Zion National Park, damaging roads, businesses and buildings like Zion Canyon Medical Clinic.

Video shows the waters sweeping away vehicles in the parking lot and a shed behind the clinic that housed medical supplies.

The couple learned that insurance won't cover a single penny of the damage to the clinic.

"We're guessing probably $50,000. We're doing a lot of work ourselves. And where are we?" McMahan asked, looking around assessing the work. "We're guessing maybe a quarter of the way into it, to do the repairs."

Springdale Mayor Stan Smith also showed off on Zoom where things were at around town more than a week later. He started off outside the medical clinic, in the now cleaned-up town hall and community center parking lot.

He then moved to businesses like Cable Mountain Lodge, which he said didn't suffer as much damage as originally thought.

After making the quick drive to Zion Canyon Campground and RV Park down the street, Smith explained that the campground is back open to full capacity, and even the pool — which was filled with mud a week ago — is once again functioning.

But the lodge, which sits on the same property as the campground, is still a complete loss and will need to be demolished.

READ: Springdale hopes for disaster relief, with damage estimated in the millions

Smith pointed to portable shipping container-style temporary buildings that now serve as the campground offices.

"He brought those containers in so he has a place to work out of," he said, walking around business owner Stewart Ferber's Zion Canyon Campfire Lodge parking lot. "And that's probably where he's going to be working out of now and for, the next... until he decides what he's going to do with this building right here."

Smith explained that they're still hoping for state or federal help, but that relief is months away at best.

"That's kind of what we're trying to go through is, what is being covered with insurance? What are the actual dollar amounts?" he explained.

Meanwhile, the community has rallied around the Zion Canyon Medical Clinic, raising most of the $50,000 in just over a week — proving to the McMahans what can happen in a week when people pull together.

"We even had a visitor who was seen that morning of the disaster, and she saw the GoFundme and she contributed," Helen said. "And also left us a very nice compliment."

"The community has stepped up in big way, otherwise we would have been out of business," Michael echoed. "And we can't thank them enough. It's just been a fantastic response."