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Six months ago today, images of the destructive force of the waters that swept through Old Ellicott City on July 30th, 2016 became international news.

In less than 30 minutes, dreams were swept away, businesses destroyed, hundreds left unemployed, residents made homeless, and two lives lost. 911 switchboards were overwhelmed with calls for help. First responders waited impatiently on the edges of town until the flash flood waters receded. It would be months before residents could go home and businesses rebuild.

190 residents were affected. Those evacuated by first responders had with them only the clothes they were wearing. Many loved pets had to be left behind to be rescued another day.

90 businesses were damaged, some completely swept away. In the weeks that followed, people began turning in items they found along the Patapsco River, hoping to give back to someone a small piece of what they had lost.

As clean up began, business owners, residents and volunteers stood shoulder to shoulder trying to save what they could and toss what was destroyed. For weeks, when one location was finished, they moved on to the next wearing respirator masks and hazmat suits.

In the six months that have followed since that night, more than 70 businesses have been able to reopen and most residents have gone home. Our community is closer and stronger than ever. We are forever grateful for the support and kindness that has been shared. But with an estimated $22.4 million in property damage alone, there is still work to be done.

How can you help? Please be our guest and come for a visit—do a little shopping, stay for dinner. Experience the friendly and wonderful town that we call home.  Old Ellicott City.