More than two years after Super-storm Sandy overwhelmed their New Jersey home of 17 years, Ed and Maureen had a safe and secure home once again.
“We decided to wait out the storm. When it dawned on me that this was real, I panicked. Did we have enough food and water? Where were our important documents? Where we going to be okay?” recalled Maureen.
The water came in, sweeping through the ground level of their house, causing severe damage to the walls, floors, and household items that were floating around the home. Despite the damage, the couple was living in their home since the storm. The situation was even more difficult because Ed is nearly blind. Because the house was not wheelchair accessible, Ed used a walker at home even though it wasn’t adequate to meet his physical needs.
“Dear Volunteers! Please know how much your sacrifice means to us. This has been an unbelievable journey. Super-storm Sandy was . . . I don’t know how to describe it. But after two years, it has become a blessing!"
- Ed & Maureen
World Renew DRS made a commitment to help people in New Jersey, like Ed and Maureen, when it partnered with A Future with Hope, a local long-term recovery group. World Renew DRS agreed to rebuild homes for Super-storm Sandy survivors who are unable to repair them on their own.
“There are still so many Sandy survivors who either can’t return home because their home is unlivable, or who live in a damaged home that it isn’t safe because it has mold or structural issues from the storm,” says Ron Willett, director of World Renew DRS. “The reality is that there are still thousands of people who don’t have their homes restored. Many are unable to recover because they live with a physical or financial limitation—or both. These are the people, like Ed and Maureen, that World Renew DRS is dedicated to helping.”
Teams of World Renew DRS volunteers worked on Ed and Maureen’s home for several weeks. They gutted and rebuilt the ground floor, making it handicap accessible so Ed could finally use a wheelchair to maneuver around his home.
As they rebuilt Ed and Maureen’s home, World Renew DRS volunteers built a relationship with each other and the couple as they ate together, talked about life, and became like family.
“God is working mightily through the work of these dedicated men and women who are committed to helping others in Christ’s name,” reflects volunteer George Vink. “I asked Maureen what her hopes were for the future, and she showed me a pair of boots that were given to her by another World Renew DRS volunteer. She said, ‘These were given to me. I want to wear them when things get settled, and I can help others, too.’”
The repairs that restored Ed and Maureen’s home were completed and the group celebrated the event with a “last nail ceremony” on December 9, 2014. It was a time of joy and fellowship as World Renew DRS volunteers and community members, together with Ed and Maureen, dedicated the finished home.
“At each last nail ceremony, we say ‘On behalf of all who have worked here, please accept this wreath in gratitude to God for his love for us,’” Willett says. “The wreath is our gift to the homeowner and a symbol of our commitment to helping others in the name of Christ.”
“Dear Volunteers! Thank you for coming,” Ed and Maureen wrote later in a thank you note. “Please know how much your sacrifice means to us. This has been an unbelievable journey. Super-storm Sandy was . . . I don’t know how to describe it. But after two years, it has become a blessing! The miracle of A Future with Hope and World Renew DRS volunteers, and many donations from I don’t know where, is hard to understand and accept . . . I just wanted you all to know, we thank you! God Bless.”