Gov. Nikki Haley toured two flood-damaged homes in Sumter Wednesday to call attention to the fact that, six months after the historic floods that hit the state, recovery is not over. She toured one home where rebuilding efforts are just getting started and another next door where rebuilding is almost finished.
She told reporters, “I think seeing a house that’s being started and seeing a house that’s being finished, it keeps us motivated to say, ‘We’ve got to keep going until we get every family back into their home.’”
The home that’s almost finished belongs to Barbara Campbell, who’s lived in the home for 25 years. The water was up to the bottom of the roof during the flooding. “So anything in the house was destroyed,” she says. “I couldn’t even describe it. It was nothing but a disaster.”
Her home was rebuilt by Mennonite volunteers from Pennsylvania. They and other faith-based groups are providing free labor while the One SC Fund, which Gov. Haley started, provides the building materials. The fund has raised about $1.5 million so far. Every penny goes to materials. Gov. Haley says the faith-based groups have done more than $7 million worth of free labor and are working on more than 600 homes.
“What we need to remember is though the sun is shining and the water is gone, the damage and devastation throughout the state is still there, and we are not going to stop until we continue to rebuild and get these families back in their home,” she says. “But we need the people of South Carolina’s help, and that is to go to the OneSCFund.org and help your neighbors in need.”
The second home the governor toured is owned by 98-year-old Emma McClure. Her daughter, Emily Rickard, says seeing the damage to the home was difficult, since it was the home in which she grew up. “Just numb, especially to see all of my childhood memories just being heaped out in a pile by the side of the road,” she says.
Her husband, Billy, had planned to renovate the home himself, but then saw the damage and realized it was too big a job to do alone. After he prayed for help, he saw a flier on the door offering it. Now, the Mennonites are working on the house. “They put their life on hold to volunteer to come down here and help people that would not be able to get back in their house, so they’re just wonderful people,” he says.