'It's a long road': Gila Bend still rebuilding after monsoon flooding devastated the town

Sept. 30 marks the last day of the monsoon, and it was certainly a wet one across Arizona.

One community southwest of Phoenix is breathing a sigh of relief now that it's over.

Back in August, heavy flooding devastated the small town of Gila Bend, killing two people and forcing dozens of helicopter rescues. Water rushed into homes and flooded roads in minutes.

Jesse Galvan and his parents live next to the main wash, near the canal that overflowed and eventually collapsed. 

Their entire home was flooded with knee-high water.

"Mud everywhere," Galvan said. "Once everything finally dried up…pretty much anything that we had that was wood, furniture, was destroyed. All the tile we had on the floor, we had to strip that off."

Town manager Kathy Valenzuela says while the water has receded and most of the cleanup is completed, there's still work to be done.

"Now it’s just really about helping them, helping them rebuild, helping them move back into their home safely," Valenzuela said. "We did sustain a lot of damage to our own town infrastructure and then, of course, we need to stay focused on the community and make sure that we are able to help support them in terms of getting back to a sense of normalcy."

Valenzuela added that the town has received an outpouring of support, which residents are grateful for.

"We’ve had a lot of generous donations come in from various nonprofit groups, individual donors with furnishings and belongings - we’ve received a lot of support from Maricopa County and so we’re very thankful for that," she said. "But again, an event of this scale - it’s a long road to getting back to normal."

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