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Grady Radabaugh rescued from flood waters in Martell by airboat

TOWN OF MARTELL--The flood waters didn't exactly announce their presence with a ringing alarm.

"I have to hand it to my wife because I would have slept right through it," Grady Radabaugh said.

At 4:15 a.m., Radabaugh's wife woke him to the fact their house on 535th Street in Martell was surrounded by waters from the overflowing Rush River brought on by the intense rainfall Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning.

The son of Ellsworth High School Wrestling Coach Jack Radabaugh, a veteran of Iraq and a school teacher, was prepared to cross through the water to a hill in back of the home to be on dry ground, but was rescued by Pierce County Sheriff's and local Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials around 5:30 a.m. An airboat came in and brought them to safety.

"I'd never been on an airboat before," Radabaugh said. "In fact, I've never been rescued from my front porch before. The ride was pretty unique and kind of fun in light of the circumstances. I have to hand it to sheriff's people and DNR Game Warden Brad Peterson for making it easy."

The rescue came in time, as 8-10 feet of water flooded the Radabaugh's home from the basement to the first floor. The rushing water knocked the propane tank in the back yard off its moorings and floated right up to the back of the house. The wood flooring there has to be replaced and water still seeps into the basement. It took days before it receded enough so the Radabaughs could begin to go back and move their things to dry them out, pump out the water and clean out the mud from inside their home. The family has been staying at Jack Radabaugh's place during the meantime.

"Needless to say, a lot of things need to be repaired," Radabaugh said. "But I'm thankful my family and friends have helped me out along and my neighbors too, some of whom I didn't even know. They came by and offered me food. All this help has been great and will allow us to make it through."