Kinston, NC — When Hurricane Matthew ripped through the city of Kinston, it didn’t just cause damage, it also destroyed decades of memories.
“This is the only home I’ve ever known,” Antionette Croom said, pointing to her street filled with houses and a tiny white church. “Everyone knows me. I feel safe here.”
Croom and her nine siblings grew up in this small neighborhood. Her father originally built her home as a rental property but gave it to her so she could raise her two children.
When Hurricane Matthew hit, flooding forced Croom to leave her home of 22 years. When the water receded, she returned to a house with a ceiling, bedrooms and bathrooms damaged beyond repair. Drawing on all her strength, she patched things up the best she could.
“You’ve got to make it work,” she said. “You do what you need to do to survive.”
Surviving was what Croom did for over two years until a good friend told her about ReBuild NC. She filled out an application and, in November 2019, work started on her new home.
“They were so kind in a time when I needed somebody,” she said. “They took care of my every need. They treated me like gold, they really did.”
Croom chose the layout of her house as well as the interior and exterior colors. With a three-foot foundation, it’s also ready for future storms. Three months after construction started, she sits on the steps of her new house and reflects on her journey home. Her heart filled with gratitude and hope for the future, Croom is looking forward to creating a new generation of memories with her three grandchildren.
“I just thank God that I got to be a recipient of a new home. I’m forever grateful.”