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Home Again Spotlight

ReBuild NC is dedicated to helping homeowners rebuild smarter and stronger.

Betty Boyd

 

Rowland, NC — Betty Boyd has survived her share of storms, including hurricanes Hazel and Andrew. But Hurricane Matthew was different. “I can’t say I’ve ever been through a storm quite like that,” says Boyd.

Although Matthew felled trees in her yard, none hit her house. For Boyd, the biggest problem came after the winds and rain were gone. Mold and mildew grew throughout her home, yet she struggled to get funding for repairs.

Then a friend recommended she attend a ReBuild NC meeting. There, she added her name to a list of people who were interested in learning more. A ReBuild NC representative called Boyd, and she started the application process. It was determined that her house would need a full reconstruction. In June 2019, a contractor assigned by ReBuild NC began the work; in October, Boyd moved into a brand-new home.

“At first, I was saddened,” Boyd says, of watching her old house being torn down. “A lot of fond memories. But after they removed the debris, I got to watch each step− the digging and then the foundation. My contractor took the time to answer questions through every phase.”

Boyd recognizes the impact ReBuild NC has had on her life. “I can’t put it into one word. It goes beyond grateful. I just feel good,” Boyd says. “When I wake up in the morning, I can’t even put my feet on the floor without saying thank you for this experience.”

This feeling inspires Boyd to encourage others to learn about ReBuild NC for themselves. “I try to spread the word as much as possible to anyone who asks me,” she says. Because as she knows so well, “there’s no place like home.”

 

Mary Campbell

 

New Bern, NC — Mary C. Campbell moved into her house in 1989 and, from the start, poured love and hard work into making it a home. But decades later, Hurricane Matthew passed through town, badly damaging the beloved family home she had built. “The storm blew off a lot of shingles, so we had to tarp the roof,” she says. “We had water come under the house, which pulled down the insulation and duct work. The storm also destroyed the flashing on the roof, which allowed more water to get inside.”

A few days later, Campbell got an unpleasant surprise when she walked into the kitchen. “There were a million ants everywhere,” she says. 
Lacking the financial resources to make anything other than small repairs, Campbell still had a tarp on her roof when Hurricane Florence arrived and caused even more damage.

Campbell began researching financial assistance options and applied to ReBuild NC in spring 2019. Once she was approved, ReBuild NC assigned a contractor and her home’s rehabilitation began the week after Thanksgiving.

The rehabilitation took an unplanned direction when contractors went into a crawl space and uncovered more damage from water rot. Campbell says, “My house probably would have fallen within a year or two. They got approval to fix the rot, too, and now I feel solid and safe. I feel like I’m getting a whole new house.”

“I couldn’t ask for a better crew,” she says. “All of them were friendly and professional. They were very concerned about making sure everything was done to my satisfaction. I’m so proud, I’m like a peacock.”

Campbell tells everyone she can about ReBuild NC. “You can’t top it,” she says. “If they can help you, and you get that call — oh, man. You just jump up and down.”
 

Sandra Settle

 

Whiteville, NC — Christmas 2019 is one holiday Sandra Settle will always remember. For the first time since October of that year, she and her family slept in their own house. “Waking up Christmas morning at home was phenomenal,” she says.

The road to a happy holiday had been long for Settle. In 2016, flooding beneath the house from Hurricane Matthew destroyed the flooring and furniture on her first floor. Soon after, indoor pipes burst due to storm impacts, flooding the second floor. Settle made the necessary repairs. Then Hurricane Florence arrived, and her home flooded again. “All the repairs were destroyed,” she says. “There was no way we could afford to fix the house.”

Settle applied to ReBuild NC for assistance and was approved in June 2019. “All of a sudden, they were ready to start work,” she says. ReBuild NC covered lodging costs for Settle’s family during the rehabilitation and assigned a contractor to repair the damages. “The rushing waters had sunken the piers supporting the middle of the house, which made the first floor sink. They had to raise the foundation and then replace the flooring,” she says. “They also replaced the flooring upstairs. Both HVAC systems were replaced. They painted everything and brought the water heater up to code.” 

Settle now has an updated kitchen, which she says is “like an HGTV kitchen.” She has a sturdy, leveld floor that no longer sinks as she walks. She also still has precious mementos. “When the contractors replaced some trim around my front door, they kept the part they removed because it had the measurements of my children as they were growing up,” Settle says. “I didn’t ask them to do that, so it really touched my heart.” 

Frezelle Herring

 

Rowland, NC — For 63 years, Frezelle Herring lived in the same house. It took Hurricane Matthew to force her out. It took ReBuild NC to bring her back home.

Herring was in her bedroom while Matthew passed over. One tree crashed on the kitchen’s roof; a second, on the bedroom’s. Both left extensive damage. With nowhere else to live after the storm, Herring stayed put, even though Red Cross advised her to leave: water kept coming in, causing mold and mildew.

“I couldn’t breathe. I was going to the doctor. I got an oxygen machine,” says Herring, who was eventually admitted to the hospital in intensive care. Still, for more than two years, she could not get approved for funding from any agencies or organizations for repairs.

Finally, a friend told her to get in touch with ReBuild NC. She submitted her application in January 2019.

Herring’s house had suffered more damage than reconstruction could fix. The contractor assigned through ReBuild NC demolished it and built a new one on the same spot. “He always approached me with a hug,” she says. “That made me feel good. Somebody is understanding what I’m going through.” Just seven months after applying to ReBuild NC, Herring walked into her new home. “July the twenty-third, I’ll never forget it,” Herring says. “That’s the day I got the key to my new house.”

About ReBuild NC, Herring says, “They are very helpful. You only had to deal with one case manager who knew what was taking place. You didn’t have to repeat things.” ReBuild NC also covered Herring’s lodging costs for 90 days and connected her to organizations that replaced her appliances and other household goods that were destroyed.

Today, Herring entertains neighbors on her new front porch, built to better-withstand what nature throws her way. “As high as my house is now, if there’s going to be a flood, and water gets up that high, I’ll see Noah’s ark. I am happy to be back home.”

Minnie Hunt

 

Fairmont, NC — While Hurricane Matthew passed over Minnie Hunt’s house, she hid in her hallway. “I was alone and scared to death,” she says. Hunt survived the storm safely, but her house suffered tremendously. Heavy winds had ripped a nearby tree’s limbs from its trunk, sending them crashing onto the top of her home. “My roof had caved in, and there was water inside my walls,” she said. 

Fixing the damage required funds Hunt did not have. As the months went by, Hunt remained in her damaged home. “I didn’t have lights and I cooked on charcoal,” she said. “I had nowhere else to go.” 

In town one day, Hunt saw a town commissioner passing out ReBuild NC flyers. She called the number provided and spoke with a ReBuild NC representative. “She explained everything to me,” Hunt says. “She took her time through the entire application process, especially with things I didn’t understand.”

Hunt learned her home needed reconstruction, which meant tearing down her old house and building a new one in the same location. ReBuild NC assigned a contractor to the job and covered Hunt’s costs for lodging elsewhere while the work was being done. 

Hunt appreciated being a part of the building process and the choices offered to her, such as paint colors. “I didn’t even have to go to the house all the time,” she says. “I didn’t have money for gas to run back and forth, so sometimes the contractor would come to where I was staying to ask me what I wanted.”

Four months later, Hunt moved into her new home, which is stronger, safer and more resilient than her old one. “They told me that it would take a lot more to blow this house down,” she says with a smile.

Antionette Croom

 

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.”

D.S.

 

Lumberton, NC — For nearly 20 years, D.S. lived comfortably in her two-bedroom home. But when Hurricane Matthew came through, the storm brought rain and flooding that damaged the structure beyond repair. 

“The rain destroyed the roof and water came into the house, making the floors uneven,” says D.S. “I tried to make it livable by doing some minor repairs, but that only helped for a little while.” 

Trying to maintain her daily routine, D.S. was at the gym one day when a friend recommended that she contact ReBuild NC. She applied for assistance, and construction on her new home began in November 2019. Thanks to the hardworking crew that was assigned to her project, D.S. moved into the house in January 2020. 

“They weren’t slow about it at all,” says D.S, whose new handicap accessible home includes two bedrooms, a large bath, eat-in kitchen, and a combined dining room and living room. “I love everything about this house. It’s a blessing!”

D.S. credits the crew with going the extra mile to make sure she was satisfied during the entire process. “They really worked hard to get this house built, and they would ask my opinion about everything,” she says. “They basically let me know what they were doing at every stage they were doing it.”  

She says she hopes others who were affected by Hurricane Matthew’s path will reach out to seek help, so she spreads the word about ReBuild NC whenever she can. 

“It was an experience like no other,” D.S. says. “I’m blessed to be able to have gotten this house, and I thank all the people involved in helping me to get it.”  

Azeingbe Idehenre

 

Greenville, NC Aziengbe Idehenre’s number one priority has always been his family. After the hurricane passed over his house, he was grateful that his wife and children were safe. He was then able to focus on a new priority: dealing with the damage that the storm left behind. 

“The high winds blew shingles off the roof,” Idehenre says. “Water kept leaking in, ruining the ceiling. Black mold started growing.” Then his wife showed him an ad for ReBuild NC that she saw on social media. “The program sounded interesting,” Idehenre says. “So I called.” One call introduced him to the ReBuild NC team. “I got great help from professional people who made sure everything was OK throughout the entire application process,” he says. “They kept me up to date. If I needed anything, I contacted them directly.” 

ReBuild NC assigned a contractor to Idehenre’s project. By that time, he had already fixed the roof, ceiling and mold issues. But there were still items that needed to be addressed. “They replaced the carpet in my room and my kids’ rooms, installed new flooring in the pantry and fixed the wooden porch,” he says. ReBuild NC also covered the cost to safely store his family’s personal belongings while the work was being done.  

Idehenre remains impressed with the contractor and his team. “They were great guys who made me feel confident about the work they were doing and left my home in good condition.” He adds, “And they were quick! It took them less than a week to finish.” 

According to ldehenre, when it comes to priorities, ReBuild NC gets it right. “The ReBuild NC team goes out of its way to make sure that you are in a safe, comfortable house,” he says. “They will drop everything to ensure that you’re satisfied with the work.”  

Allen Britt

 

Lumberton, NC Allen Wayne Britt took pride in caring for his home for 36 years, but when Hurricane Matthew hit, he could only watch as a tree crashed through the back of the house, caving in the bathroom, utility closet, and part of the kitchen.  

Following the storm, Britt was able to remove the tree on his own, but he didn’t know where to turn when it came to making the major repairs needed to salvage the structure. He was reluctant to reach out for assistance even when friends referred him to ReBuild NC. 

“No one has ever helped us with anything at all,” he says. “I just didn’t think it was going to happen.” 

But Britt contacted ReBuild NC and says he was impressed with the level of service he received from the start. “The rep helped me understand the process, and they even offered to pay for me to stay at a motel during reconstruction.”  

Britt signed final paperwork with ReBuild NC in September 2019, and he says crews started on his new home in early October. He opted to stay at his daughter’s house nearby, so he could closely monitor the build process. “I was excited,” Britt says. “I would be over there every day. I just liked to watch and see how it was going — and it was so good.”  

According to Britt, the crew demolished his old house, leveled the land, and framed and completed the rebuild in just four months. He moved into his new home in January 2020.  

“It felt great to move back in,” says Britt, who says he appreciates how ReBuild NC made it all possible. “They really came through, and I just love everything about it.”  
 

Janice Tallman

 

Hope Mills, NC   Hurricane Matthew did not destroy Janice Tallman’s house, which was still standing after the storm had passed, but damage from a fallen tree, harsh winds and heavy rain was substantial. Her roof, walls, windows, insulation and more needed significant repairs. Tallman says, “I had no idea how I was going to pay to save my home.”  

Then, Tallman discovered ReBuild NC. “I was at my community center when I saw posters describing the program and the people it helps,” she recalls. “I thought, ‘This could be me!’ So right then, I asked the man working at the center for help and he got me started.” 

For Tallman, the application process was easy and straightforward. “It was simple,” she says. “I filled out the application during a few lunch breaks.” Tallman was approved for assistance and in spring 2019, ReBuild NC assigned a contractor to repair her home. A few months later, the work was complete.  

“I cannot say enough good things about my contractor,” she says. “He listened to all of my concerns and made me feel so comfortable.” Tallman’s home required new insulation, ceilings and walls. Her contractor’s team replaced the deck and fixed a broken kitchen window and door. They also replaced Tallman’s outdated HVAC system, water heater and dishwasher with new, energy-efficient models. She reports, “My electric bill is lower now, too.” 

“There’s not a person in my life who doesn’t know what ReBuild did for me,” says Tallman. “The program is truly life-changing.”

Rena Locklear

 

Maxton, NC —  Some experiences can be too traumatic to remember in detail. For Rena Locklear, Hurricane Matthew was one of them. Her memories of the storm itself are blurry, but she remembers clearly the destruction left behind. “The water damage was the worst. It affected the whole house, from underneath to the roof,” she says. “After the storm, mold and mildew began growing in the walls.” Yet Locklear remained in her home, as she had nowhere else to live.  

A friend suggested she contact ReBuild NC. “I filled out my application,” she says. “Next thing I know, they told me I was approved!” The house had been damaged beyond repair, so ReBuild NC assigned a contractor to demolish it and build a new one on the site.  

To help her envision what her new home might look like, Locklear visited a model home before the contractor started. Once work began, it took only four months to complete. “When I finally saw my finished home, I was so pleased. Everyone who sees it loves it.”  

Locklear is enjoying the layout of her new house, which is different from the old one. “My favorite part is the living room and kitchen because now they’re one space,” she says. “I love that big room because I can cook for my grandchildren and still be part of it all. It’s just wonderful.” 

For Locklear, working with ReBuild NC and her contractor was easy. “I couldn’t have asked for better people,” she says. “I tell all my friends about the program. I say, ‘If you need help because Matthew hit your home, call ReBuild NC.’” 

Edith Hines

 

Fayetteville, NC —  Edith Hines first heard about ReBuild NC on the radio after Hurricane Matthew damaged her house, leaving a broken HVAC, rotting wood and soggy insulation. 

Then Hurricane Florence passed through, causing more damage. She didn’t have enough money to make substantial repairs, so Hines lived without air conditioning or heat — until ReBuild NC stepped in.

The contractor that ReBuild NC assigned to Hines’ home completed all the work she needed in less than a month. “They were really fast,” she says. “They fixed my HVAC system, put in new insulation and ducts, and repaired and painted my walls. They were very efficient and knew how to fix every problem.”

Hines was impressed with the crew’s progress and professionalism. “They went the extra mile to get the job done right,” Hines remembers. “They put their whole heart into their work, and I could tell that they loved helping others. They are number one on my list. I felt like I gained another family.”

Her experience was so positive that Hines was inspired to return to where she first learned about ReBuild NC: the radio. “I called the ‘Good Morning, Charlie’ radio show and praised ReBuild NC,” she says. “I explained how they know what to do and how to get it done. I hope that anyone who was listening called ReBuild NC to get help like I did.” 
 

Morris Love

Lumberton, NC — When Hurricane Matthew ripped through Lumberton, Morris Love didn’t just lose his home, he lost part of his family.

“I’m a foster parent,” Morris explained. “I had two little boys with me when the storm hit.”

He said they were stuck in their home, and all they were able to do was watch as the weather went from bad to worse.                                            

“By the grace of God, a helicopter flew over,” Morris recounted.

With rain falling and water rising, a rescue team pulled Morris and his family to safety and flew them to Wilmington. They were safe, but now they faced the daunting question of how to start over. Morris had lost his home, and as a result, his license to have foster kids. Unsure of what to do, Morris turned to ReBuild NC.

“I was told to go to ReBuild North Carolina,” Morris said. “I went out there and they helped me fill out the application. They told me, ‘We’re going to get you home and take care of everything. You’ve come this far and we’re not going to stop. We’re going to get this done.’”

ReBuild NC assigned Morris a contractor who built a new home with raised foundations that would weather future storms. The day Morris moved in, he got more than his home back — he got his family back. 

“The case worker came and gave me my license back,” Morris said. “I’m able to have my foster kids again.”

Jennifer Hunt

 

Fairmont, NC —Jennifer Hunt is familiar with the storms of life. After helping her husband battle cancer twice, she felt she could weather anything, until Hurricane Matthew battered their home.  

“It was very, very rough,” Jennifer described. “We rode out the storm in the house. When we came out, the water was very high [and] about to go into our vehicles.” 

When the storm passed, Jennifer realized how extensive the damage truly was.  

“We had trees coming into the house and water coming in from the ceiling,” Jennifer said.  

Multiple rooms were unlivable, and Jennifer and her husband were left with only one bathroom. They made what repairs they could, but medical bills had depleted their funds. Jennifer, who said she’s never had to ask for help in her life, turned to ReBuild NC.   

“I heard about the program and filled out an application,” Jennifer said. “They replaced both of our bedroom ceilings and our floors. I was most impressed with the timely matter they finished the repairs. It helped us get back to our normal life without things being so displaced.” 

For Jennifer, it wasn’t just about getting the work done, it was knowing that someone was there to help her every step of the way.     

“They would call me from time to time with updates,” Jennifer said. “If I had a question, I knew I could call and ask.” 

With her husband, and two dogs by her side, Jennifer looks at her home now and there’s no trace of the devastation Hurricane Matthew left behind.   

“It just meant the world to us,” Jennifer expressed. “I’m forever grateful.”  

Gregory Bradley

 

Wilmington, NC When Gregory Bradley was five years old, he moved into a house his parents built. He was still living there 47 years later when Hurricane Matthew caused a nearby river to overflow. 

“Water poured into the house from every direction,” Bradley says. “It reached chest high.” He and his family were evacuated to a local high school where they stayed for a month before returning home to find most of their possessions and much of their house destroyed. 

Unable to afford repairs, the family continued to live in the battered home before Bradley heard about ReBuild NC on the news. “I submitted my application to ReBuild NC in May 2019,” he says. “They started demolishing my old home that fall. Four months later, we moved into a brand-new house.” 

“I really liked how my ReBuild NC contractor kept me informed,” Bradley says. “It’s one of the reasons why I tell others to call ReBuild NC. Their team works hard to assist you in every way.” 

Today, Bradley lives in a house elevated five feet off the ground. “Water would have to come up really high to cause a problem now,” he says. Bradley feels confident and safe and imagines his parents would enjoy the new house, too. “It’s too bad my mother and father aren’t here to see it, but I’m sure they’d be very pleased. It’s just lovely.”