Bus Tarbox plays his grand piano Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, as Joyce Kilmer listens at her rental home west of Loveland. One of the few things Tarbox was able to save after the flood was the piano, which Kilmer is keeping for him until he has a home. The two flood vicitims are receiving Habitat for Humanity homes. (Jenny Sparks / Loveland Reporter-Herald)
Bus Tarbox sat in front of the ivories on his grand piano, stretched his fingers, then let the music flow. As the finishing notes faded away, he smiled.
“It’s an old friend,” said the 78-year-old Loveland man.
When he lived in his home along the North Fork of the Big Thompson River, he would play several times throughout the day. Every day. Before lunch. In the evening.Whenever he had the itch to hear the clear tones of his Kimball.
Then the 2013 flood raged in and destroyed his home and most of his belongings, filling his haven with 3.5 feet of water.
While the raging waters took so much from so many, they damaged but did not destroy the piano.
That piano will be the centerpiece of his brand new living room this summer when he moves into his new home — the first home of his own since the flood.
Tarbox and Joyce Kilmer, who fled up the side of a mountain with the deadly flood waters not far behind, were chosen to receive Habitat for Humanity homes through a program for those who lost their homes in the flood.
Temporary to permanent
The Loveland Habitat for Humanity received funding through a Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Relief for three homes for flood survivors. One is still available.
The flood homes are slightly different from the traditional habitat home.
They are modulars built off site then placed on lots in the Loveland neighborhood. The residents must put in 100 hours of work in order to qualify for the home, which carries an affordable monthly mortgage.
Kilmer and Tarbox, long-time friends, will be next door neighbors in their own homes by summer.
When asked how she feels about having her own home again, Kilmer uttered three simple words, “relief and security.”
While she loves her rental property and is grateful for her landlords, she longs to have a permanent place of her own.
“I haven’t felt secure for a while now,” she said. “I need more security.”