It’s been just over 5 months since the historic flooding in Ellicott City, where homes, businesses and lives were lost. Businesses have received grants and donations to help get back on their feet, but few have meant as much as one small donation, from a very special little girl.
More than 6 inches of rain fell in downtown Ellicott City in July, destroying homes, dozens of businesses and killing two people. The damage was historic and heartbreaking for the entire city. “When the flood happened I felt so sorry for the people I didn’t know what to think,” says 10-year-old Breana Ryerson. Breana may not have known what to think, but she knew what to do…she would help. “So I thought what if I just give one person that got their business destroyed some money,” she says.
Like most 10-year-olds though, her pockets aren’t deep, but the size of her heart made up the difference. “We just made some snow cones and we were like, what if we make a snow cone stand,” remembers Breana. So she grabbed a few friends and borrowed a snow cone machine, selling the flavored-ice in her neighborhood. After a few hours of being open, she made $133.00.
Breana knew exactly where the money would go: To the place where she had her birthday party, Suze’s Makeup Studio on Main Street. So Breana marched into the store with her check in hand to present it to Suze Heydt, the store owner. “I got you the check from our snow cone stand,” Breana says proudly as she gave Suze the check. “Wow I am so impressed, that is amazing,” says Suze.
For business owners like Suze who weren’t sure if they could or would re-open, this was the push she needed. “It was like the soul got sucked out,” says Suze. “For me, it was like going through a loss.”
The $133.00 check meant more than the grant money or the relief fund to Suze. “Everyone has memories on Main Street and one of them was your birthday,” Suze says to Breana. “So thank you for getting me back out.”
The soul of Ellicott City is here, it never really left after all. It’s just stronger now, and more present than ever. “Because helping someone, you’re going to be giving someone something and they’re going to be joyful, and that makes you joyful,” says Breana.
And the world will be a better place.
Suze says she plans to dedicate a special corner in her shop to Breana.