Kathi Riley lost everything from her wedding photographs to her daughter's christening gown in the flooding that ravaged her Cary neighborhood earlier this week.
Unlike her neighbors though, the lower level of her home fell victim to sewer backup, rather than rain water, which forced her to pitch everything it touched, including the carpet she installed in March and a desk that had been in her husband Steven's family for generations.
"I have to cut my losses and throw it (out) because every minute that it sits in that sewer water, the meter is running for anybody that handles it," she said.
Yet, Riley, who has lived in that house for 16 years, never experienced flooding there and has no flood insurance, is thankful things weren't any worse. She works as a nurse and is no stranger to catastrophe. She also doesn't need anyone feeling sorry for her.
"It's just stuff," Riley, 55, said. "I didn't lose any pets, I didn't lose any people that I love. And nobody's got cancer."
In response to the flooding in Riley's Sunset/Crest neighborhood, Cary is holding a special meeting July 11 specifically for those residents, Village President Mark Kownick said.
At the meeting, trustees will look at ways to secure aid for the homeowners and have invited David Christensen, director of the McHenry County Emergency Management Agency to speak. Officials will also discuss partnering with other flood-damaged communities -- Crystal Lake and McHenry -- to secure loans for the damage through the Small Business Association.
"We're trying to get them back to a normal life as fast as possible," Kownick said. "My heart just bleeds for those folks that are over there."
In the days since the flooding, village officials have met with 25 residents in neighborhood and arranged a special trash collection throughout the village to pick up flood-related debris, Village Administrator Christopher Clark said. Later on, Clark anticipates the board will hire a consultant to review historic documents -- including an engineering study that outlined ways to alleviating flooding issues at Sunset/Crest -- and to make recommendations. Records also show the board discussed the neighborhood's flooding problems in 2007 and 2011, Clark said.
Six inches of rain fell on Cary in three hours on Wednesday. Fifteen homes in the neighborhood sustained flood damage, and eight of those were extreme cases, Clark said.
The Sunset/Crest neighborhood was built between 40 and 50 years ago, sits on the bottom of a hill and has had flooding issues ever since, according to Village Trustee Bruce Kaplan, a senior broker specializing in commercial property. He said the neighborhood suffers from poor planning, poor design and poor engineering.
"The issue becomes who's at fault, who's responsible, whose money is going to be spent to solve the problem," Kaplan said. "I guess that's what the village is going to be faced with deciding."