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Ward Lumber helps out employees affected by Tropical Storm Irene flooding damage

Ward Lumber employee Dustin Frederick and parents Wayne and Lorie stand with owner Jay Ward and fellow employee Travis Thwaits.

Ward Lumber employee Dustin Frederick and parents Wayne and Lorie stand with owner Jay Ward and fellow employee Travis Thwaits. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— The tapes that relive the moments when Dustin Frederick captured back-to-back state wrestling championships for the AuSable Valley Patriots were ruined when floodwaters intruded into his family’s home during Tropical Storm Irene.

“Those are nothing compared to the house being declared a total loss,” Frederick said.

On Sept. 23, he and Travis Thwaits stood with their employer, Jay Ward, on the steps of Ward Lumber in Jay as the boss gave both some welcomed relief.

Through the Lumber Industry for Today (LIFT), Frederick and his family, along with Thwaits, received grants to help them rebuild.

“We have lived there 15 years, and we had never had a problem with flooding until this spring,” said Dustin’s father, Wayne, about the house he owns on Burt Lane in Au Sable Forks.

“We had just renovated the house from the April flooding when this happened,” Dustin said.

The Fredericks received $2,000 in funding through the program that is run with the help of lumber companies throughout the Northeast. Thwaits, who was serving as a member of the Jay Volunteer Fire Department and formerly served with the National Guard in Iraq, received $500 as a renter.

“I was hurting for them and looking for ways to try and help,” Ward said. “I found out about this program that is totally volunteer through all lumber dealers and employee team members from different lumber yards helping each other out, and I went to them and said, let’s do this.”

“I had to break the news to my roommates about what happened,” Thwaits said. “Jay came to us with this and pretty much took care of everything. FEMA couldn’t really help out that much because I was renting, so this is very welcome.”

Thwaits lived in a house that he was renting with friends on Sheldrake Road in Jay when the storm hit, and said that he was unable to make it home to check on the house.

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