La Valle couple recognized for flood rebuilding efforts

LA VALLE, Wis. (WMTV) -- Almost one year after record flooding hit southern Wisconsin, a couple in La Valle was recognized Tuesday for helping rebuild their community.

"It's quite an honor, exciting, humbling all at the same time," said Charity Sobeck.

Charity and her husband Rockie manage Central Park Apartments, a housing facility for the elderly.

"There are no words to say exactly what this place means to me and what these residents mean to me," Charity said.

In August 2018, the whole building flooded, forcing the eight residents to move out and find new places to stay.

"Probably the saddest day of my life that year was watching the tenants as they moved out," Charity said. "Their most precious items are here and then to have to lose some of those items, that is devastating."

The Sobecks decided they had to fix things. With the help of the community and Habitat for Humanity, the completely rebuilt the apartments.

In January, residents were able to move back in.

"It was like the family had gotten back together again," Charity said.

To recognize the Sobecks' work in getting the residents back home, the U.S. Department of Agriculture presented Charity and her husband with a "Project of the Year" award at a ceremony Tuesday afternoon.

The Sobecks' residents said the two completely deserve it.

"It's just wonderful that they got recognized for all they did because they were down here every day, taking care of everything," said Edith Whetstine, who has lived in Central Park Apartments for nine years.

Charity said she is humbled by the recognition, but the award is not about her family. She said the support of the community and everyone who donated materials and time is what made the project possible.

"It's not an award that just goes to myself, nor to Rockie and I. This award is literally for everyone who cares about affordable, quality living," she said.

Rebuilding the apartments is over, but Charity's work is not finished. She said she wants to put up water barriers around the building to prevent a disaster like this from happening again.