They were so close. The time, money and effort that went into repairing Providence Mission Baptist Church after the flood in 2006 seemed almost in vain Wednesday.
Today was supposed to mark the last step in repairing the flood damage at the church in Searsville. But instead of putting in the last partition today, the church is still drying out from Wednesday's flooding.
Friends and church members were at the church early Wednesday morning to ward off the rising waters. They blocked doors with sandbags, plastic sheeting and towels.
As water still crept into the children's area of the church, they used an indoor/outdoor vacuum to remove much of the water.
"That's a 16-gallon vac, and I wouldn't even attempt to count how many times it filled up. At least every 30 seconds," said Deacon Earl Brown.
In the morning the water was coming into the church about as fast as the vacuum was sucking it out, Brown said.
"I was beginning to get frustrated, but then someone said the water was going down," he said. "I'm tired, but I'm going to finish this through. I'm going to battle this."
Pastor Sam Mickles, who has been a member of the church for the past 30 years, said flooding is nothing new for them. But every time there is a flood, there are people willing to help clean it up.
"The people here have love for the church and love for the Lord," Mickles said.
The June 2006 flood was much worse than the current conditions, and even kept the congregation out of the church for a period of time, he said.
"My first response when I saw this was, 'Don't let us be out of the church,'" he said. "I just hope that it subsides."
Mickles said much of the problem is from drainage in the area.
"They need to fix that opening at Columbus Ave.," he said. "The drainpipe needs to be widened."
Don Coleman and his brother, who both live on Tremper Avenue in Searsville, said they also saw some flooding.
"That rain came down pretty good. I told my brother to put up bags of sand and stone," Coleman said.
Coleman said the worst flood to hit the area was in the 1960s, and then again in 2006. By now, dealing with the constant flooding in Searsville has become second nature for Coleman.
"I get up in and hurry and think. I have to know what I have to do (when the waters start to rise)," he said. "I don't worry about it. I ain't going to let the world end."