Mary and her late husband built this house together in 1996 while Mary was carrying their first child. Room by room the two worked with lumber from the trees around their home to create a place where all three of their children would eventually grow up.
Just over a year ago, Mary’s beloved home was devastated by a flood.
Heavy rain fell on already saturated ground in parts of West Virginia in March 2015. The resulting flood damaged many homes in Mingo County and the surrounding area.
“My whole house was waterlogged,” Mary recalled. “It didn’t take long for the floors to fall through in all three of the bedrooms, the living room, and the hallway. The floors were gone, just gone. I had to sleep in the dining room for almost a year because my bedroom floor was so bad.”
Unable to make the repairs herself, Mary requested help from West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (WV VOAD), a partner of World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS).
The flood, which occurred more than a year ago, did not make national headlines and went mostly unnoticed. But World Renew DRS and its partners were aware of the destruction the flood caused and the needs of the people who were affected by it. World Renew DRS collaborated with WV VOAD to send reconstruction volunteers to West Virginia from January to April 2016 to repair homes like Mary’s.
“You couldn’t beat ‘em!” Mary said. “We had a good time. You tell ‘em hi from me. They are sure good people.”
World Renew DRS worked on Mary’s house for three weeks, repairing the rotted floors and sharing lunch with her every day at her big kitchen table. “You couldn’t beat ‘em!” Mary said. “We had a good time. You tell ‘em hi from me. They are sure good people.”
When the repairs were completed, Mary’s home had beautiful new floors, and she could move out of the dining room and back into the bedroom.
“Mary lived in unsafe conditions in her family home for a year,” said Sharon Schelling, a World Renew DRS volunteer. “I’m so happy we fixed her floors. I can’t imagine how long it may have taken if we weren’t there to help,” said Sharon.
Sharon and her husband Rob volunteered for five weeks in West Virginia, managing the World Renew DRS volunteers who were there each week. Other volunteers included church groups, individuals, and couples from across the U.S. and Canada who spent one to six weeks there, working as team members and site managers.
In all, ninety-nine World Renew DRS volunteers repaired the homes of 21 families that needed help with rebuilding.
Recovering from disasters can take a long time, as you can tell by Mary’s story. Your donation to North American Disasters 2016 will support the recovery of those that have already been affected by the storms and flooding in Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas this year. You can also help by volunteering; get started at worldrenew.net/drs.