80-year-old homeowner in Olive Branch, IL put home on market before flood

OLIVE BRANCH, IL (KFVS) - Don Walden is 80 years old and put his home in Olive Branch, Illinois up for sale due to one too many floods.

"I'm getting too old to rework the house," Walden said. "I've reworked it once. I had a friend of mine to rework it a second time. And this time, forget it. I don't think I'm going to do it again."

With their home right on Horseshoe Lake, Walden said it's become more of a nuisance than a place of retirement for him and his wife.

"We are not going to go back this time," Betty Walden said. "We are going to stay at Thebes."

Not only did Walden put his house up for sale, he is also considering the buyout program.

"If they've got any money left, they are supposed to go back in and see who wants to resell," Walden said. "So, I went down to sign up for that."

The buyout is a voluntary program for federal and state government funding.

He joined many other homeowners in the area who decided to either move and/or buyout.

Alexander County engineer Jeff Denny said some people sign up and some don't.

"Historically, we had a major flood about every 20 years, a big flood," Denny said. "And now we've had the three biggest floods in the last six years."

Since flooding is not a stranger to this community, this is one of the many vacant houses in this area.

"It really makes a hardship on you and people that are not used to the flood, it really scares them," Betty Walden said. "But we are getting used to it now, we really are. It's just the way of life."

Anytime the Mississippi River has come up in recent history, Olive Branch has been the main flood fight area, and that's not different this year.

Denny said since the Corps of Engineers opted not to fix the levee in Dog Tooth Bend in extreme Alexander County following the massive breach in the last major flood, water is just flowing freely from the Mississippi River toward Olive Branch and in some places is in town.

He said everything south of town is under water. Water is right up against the highway but at this point, he doesn't think they'll have to close Route 3.

Denny said Olive Branch probably would have been ok without this new round of rain, but now he said it's just a "wait and see" situation.

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