When six inches (136 mm) of hard rain fell on small towns across eastern Canada in April, the resulting flood in “Cottage Country” was in the news. Many vacationers and owners of second homes lamented damage to their property or beloved vacation spot. Those are saddening losses.
But there are also year-round residents living in communities like Bracebridge, Huntsville, Bancroft, and Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, who lost their primary family home. Volunteers from World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS), along with members from Christian Reformed churches in Ontario, quickly began helping homeowners remove downed trees, pump up water, muck out basements, and repair or replace drywall. In that process, Tony and Jennie de Weerd, Regional Managers for World Renew DRS in Eastern Canada, encountered Robert and Theresa Bowers, a couple that calls Bracebridge home year-round.
The Bowers are retired and own property that borders the Muskoka River. When April’s heavy rain was followed by a sudden heat wave and melting snow, the raging river pushed the Bowers’ house off its foundation. Their home and many others were under water to an extent not seen in 100 years. And like everyone who finds help through World Renew, the Bowers’ limited income didn’t include funds or insurance for a major disaster like this.
“The Bowers’ house was damaged so badly it was a total loss,” Tony de Weerd said. “But some of the civic organizations in Bracebridge made work of raising funds to help them. Neighbors and friends of the Bowers found accommodations for our volunteers and donated their time and expertise to contribute the building process. As they got the project underway, World Renew DRS agreed to build the Bowers a new home.”
During the first week of September, the de Weerd family took that agreement to heart. Tony and Jennie, along with their three sons and two of their grandsons, laid the subfloor and put up the framing, plywood, and trusses on the Bowers’ new house.
“Two of our sons are framers,” Jennie explained while she took a quick break, “so we hope to make good progress on that this week. More skilled DRS volunteers will do the roofing, wallboard, and mudding. Then the home will be finished by other work teams from World Renew.”
The building plan for the 28- by 40-foot, two-bedroom, one-bath home includes a new basement with a 5-foot rise to prevent further flooding. The Bowers are living in a trailer while the home is being built and looking forward to a completion date for their new place by Canadian Thanksgiving in early October.
“This project is a real blessing for everyone in Bracebridge,” the de Weerds say. “It’s a whole-town effort.”
The World Renew DRS, as well as three generations of the de Weerd family, are blessed to show the Bowers the tangible love of the family of God through their new home.
You can support the World Renew DRS response to “Spring Storms 2013” by donating online, or call 800-730-3490 in Canada or 800-552-7972 in the US.
To volunteer with World Renew DRS in Bracebridge or elsewhere in the US and Canada, contact Becky Purdom at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-848-5818.