An Idaho Falls family received an early Christmas gift after their home flooded.
Tobin Cleaning and Restoration wanted to fix one home for free this holiday season, but when they heard about the Mills family and their story, it only seemed fitting to come in and get the job done early, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“I went through breast cancer surgery this year. I’ve had five surgeries total so far,” said Elaine Mills.
When an underground sprinkler broke and flooded her basement earlier this month, it only made her difficult year worse.
Mills said she and her husband don’t go in the basement very often, so the water had been building up for days and forming a nasty layer of mold.
“I had to go to the hospital because of respiratory problems and chemical migraines — environmental migraines I think they call them,” Mills said. “All of us have been sick living in the house.”
The only one in the house who didn’t get sick from the mold was Peanut, the dog — maybe that’s because she couldn’t see the $4,000-plus repair bill.
“Being that I’ve been out of work since March, I didn’t know what we were going to do,” Mills said.
A friend of the family called Tobin Cleaning and Restoration to tell them about Mills and her family.
“We were looking for someone to help, kind of a Christmas project to be done in December,” said Steve Lasley, who works for Tobin and is in charge the project. “Because of the way this one came up — it fell in our lap. We couldn’t wait.”
Crews from Tobin are cleaning and restoring the Mills’ basement for free and putting the family up in a hotel in the meantime.
“I don’t even know how to put into words how much I appreciate everything they’re doing for our family,” Mills said. “Next year, when I’m healthy, I’m going to help (them) help somebody else.”
The Mills family will be allowed to move back into their home on Friday.
Tobin is looking for volunteers to help with the cleanup later this week. Anyone interested can call 523-1080.