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Memories remain after new start

Minot family grows stronger through recovery

Jill Schramm/MDN The Pecharich family, from left, Jenna, Adam, Terri, Alissa Ewan and Lauren, spent time May 10 in Leach Park in a portion of southwest Minot where their family home flooded in 2011.

Terri Pecharich still misses her old neighborhood at times, although she feels a sense of security in living outside the river valley that flooded in 2011.

“I grew up in the valley, and that’s all I’ve known is the valley,” Pecharich said. “To this day, I miss the valley, but mentally I couldn’t see myself staying in the valley. Too many memories.”

However, her family’s flood recovery was positive in some ways, too.

“It definitely made us stronger as a couple and as a family, for sure. I don’t think we’ll ever be the same, but not all negative either. There’s still some positives that came out of it – just our strength in each other,” she said.

The decision to move from the valley didn’t come right away.

Adam and Terri Pecharich lived in a FEMA home on their property while investing their life savings into rebuilding their house near the former Lincoln School. After many nights and weekends spent working on the house, they moved back in a week before their daughter, Jenna, was born.

“We put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into that place,” Terri Pecharich recalled. “We were already halfway done rebuilding before we even heard about the buyout.”

Once they knew a buyout for the flood protection project was coming, they decided against putting additional money into finishing the basement level. Raising Jenna and an older daughter of Terri’s, Alissa Ewan, they needed more space. They sold the house and purchased a house in north Minot. In addition to Ewan, now 23, and Jenna, 9, the Pecharichs now have a daughter, Lauren, 5.

There were challenges in selling their valley house. Adam Pecharich explained it was impossible for a buyer to get a loan because the house was valued at zero due to the proposed buyout for a diversion project that would be a number of years away. After living in the house for a year, they were able to get a buyer, who took possession about six months before the buyout occurred.

Adam Pecharich said the sale didn’t recoup the investment of their savings into the rebuilding, although they were able to pay off outstanding loans. They had been assisted by FEMA, Small Business Administration loans and a grant through a Minot Area Community Foundation program for flood victims. The grant fund included receipts from a Black-Eyed Peas benefit concert in Minot.

“The Salvation Army helped us a lot and the Red Cross, Terri Pecharich added of the disaster assistance those organizations provided in the weeks after the flood. “The community really stepped up to the plate as far as offering everything from home goods to food to cleaning supplies.”

Ewan benefited from Minot’s Resilient Homebuyer Program when she and her fiance purchased a house in north Minot in 2020.

Ewan said she learned about the program after a friend used it. She wasn’t initially sure she was eligible, having been a child and not a homeowner in 2011. Discovering she was eligible, she applied and received assistance that enabled her to purchase a larger home that will offer more permanency into the future.

“I knew I did not want to be in the valley,” she said, “but it was nice to stay in Minot.”

Having been displaced from her home and school, relocating to a classroom in Minot Municipal Auditorium for a time, Ewan said recovery never really ends from a mental standpoint.

Even now, driving through formerly flooded neighborhoods stirs memories and looking at flood photos can be emotional for the family.

“It’s always going to be there,” Adam Pecharich said.

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