community gathers to restore displaced family’s home | New
When the tornado swept through Johns Creek Road in early May, the neighborhood sprang into action.
“After the storm we all went out into the neighborhood to make sure everyone was okay,” said Tina Escalona, who lives along this stretch of road. “It was kind of like an organic call to action using social media.”
A community Facebook page provided the networking they needed to go door-to-door and get updates from each family on how they were doing and the help they needed. Soon neighbors with industrial equipment began to clear driveways and remove trees from buildings.
Across from Escalona’s house, her neighbor, Christy Ward, had just faced the worst of the storm. Ward and one of his daughters were in their car across from their mobile home when the tornado swept over their property, tearing a tree and causing a branch to land on their car.
In a flash, the storm had left Ward and his two daughters homeless.
The same compassion that led neighbors down the street to help each other in the hours after the storm hit, brought dozens of people together to renovate a house on Ward’s property and build a new home for his family.
Within a week, word had spread throughout the neighborhood and State Representative John McCravy – who also lives in the area – took the reins of organizing the contract work the house needed.
So far the debris has been cleaned up, Palmetto Electric has installed a power supply and line to the house, along with the raw wiring and the old moldy plasterboard removed. Workers performed under the house, installed data windows, replaced the back door and sub-floors, and did the rough plumbing. Insulation and roofing work is underway and McCravy has said he wants to purchase and install the new plasterboard soon.
He held a meeting Thursday evening at his law firm for those interested in devoting their time, resources and efforts to this project. A dozen people showed up, all eager to find ways to complete the tasks that remained to be done.
There are cabinets to install, a well pump to repair, final electrical and plumbing work to be done, as well as painting, flooring, installing appliances and laying furniture. The house still needs raw materials for some upcoming work, as well as cabinets, microwave, refrigerator, and two-in-one washer and dryer to save space, among others.
It wasn’t long before the people who came to the meeting started to think of ways to help. Greenwood County Emergency Management Coordinator George McKinney used his knowledge of aid networks and reached out to several charities. He said he would contact others and see what funding and help he could find.
County Councilor Theo Lane, whose neighborhood was crossed by this tornado, attended and offered to contact people who could help clear the damaged mobile home from the property, among others. Others said they would contact church organizations, neighbors, business owners and friends to find every ounce of help possible.
“For me it is very heartwarming to realize how much goodwill there is in our community and our county,” Lane said. “They are good people who do good things for each other. Isn’t that what the American is supposed to be?
The amazing thing, said Escalona, is to see these resources mobilized to help a neighbor and her children.
“These people came together out of kindness to make this happen,” Escalona said, “for me you are building hopes and dreams for two little girls.”
Brendan McNamara does maintenance and construction work for McCravy and has worked almost non-stop to restore the house to better condition. He said that while he was working at home he saw all kinds of people from all over the area arriving and offering donations to help with the project.
McCravy said more than $ 9,700 has been donated to the project so far, but with a balance of around $ 6,400 and with a few bills to pay he said he was convinced they would need to. more money to do all the work.
He opened a separate bank account through his law firm exclusively to hold donations to the Ward House project, and people can donate by sending checks payable to the McCravy law firm for the Ward House fonds at 1629 Bypass 72, Greenwood. Escalona said she coordinates many volunteer and resource development efforts, and anyone interested in working or donating materials and items can email her at [email protected]
Contact editor-in-chief Damian Dominguez at 864-634-7548 or follow us on Twitter @IJDDOMINGUEZ.