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Stories of people and communities going about the work of recovery from the floods of 2015 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.00000177-2120-db48-a97f-fb222fb50000In October of 2015, South Carolina received rainfall in unprecedented amounts over just a few days time. By the time the rain began to slacken, the National Weather Service reported that the event had dumped more than two feet of water on the state. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the subsequent flooding was the worst in 75 years.Then, one year later, rain and storm surge from Hurricane Matthew dealt a blow to many in South Carolina still at work recovering from the 2015 floods.SC Public Radio Flood Coverage from the Beginning

Church Group Helps South Carolinians Rebuild

Alexandra Olgin

Faye Washington is looking forward to moving back home. Her three-bedroom red brick house with yellow trim looks the same from the outside, but the inside is completely new.

Volunteers are drilling nails into drywall and taping together new air ducts. Washington has lived at this home for 56 years.

“This house was built in 1960 and I was born in 1960,” she said.

Washington fled her Georgetown home last October when nearly 12 inches of water seeped in the doors and windows. She said it felt like her house was in a river.

“We were riding in boats,” Washington said. “We saw alligators.”

Credit Faye Washington
Homeowner Faye Washington's view from a boat in October 2015.

Once the water receded, she eventually found help with the South Carolina Educational and Missionary Baptist Convention through word of mouth. Samuel Fulmore handles recovery efforts for the group.

“We are in the second phase of...long term recovery,” he said. “We are [hoping] to be on the grounds helping people throughout this year, to the middle of next year.”

Fulmore said he has been going door to door to find people who need help. In the past, he says, his church has been donated money to those impacted by natural disasters. But this time he felt he needed to be more hands on. He’s coordinating free labor to rebuild homes.

“The need is there, and I wanted to be able to do more to assist the people that have been affected,” Fulmore said. “When it hit home, it makes you see things differently.”  

Church Group Helps South Carolinians Rebuild
President of the South Carolina Educational and Missionary Convention James Blassingame said rural parts of the state need help.

The labor comes from baptist groups all around the country. The crews working on Washington's house drove more than 700 miles to help out. Steve Crothers is securing dry wall in the front entrance of the home. He drove from Ohio to help rebuild.

Crothers said he’s done a dozen other trips to recovering areas across the country.

“Nobody is immune from disaster, it can hit anywhere anytime,” he said.  “We are all susceptible. There is a way that everybody can help.”

In the last eight months, the South Carolina baptist group has gotten volunteers to help rebuild 18 homes across the state.