By Robert Kittle
A documentary on the volunteer work done by Mormons after the historic floods in South Carolina last October highlights the work that churches of all denominations have done to help the state recover.
Les Carroll, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was doing volunteer work in Columbia after the flood and saw the work his fellow church members were doing, so he decided to make the documentary. “I did it to sort of document what our church members were doing. But I also realized that there were a lot of people involved that came together, all faiths, all different groups and all different religious faiths came together and worked in this area, and it didn’t matter what church you went to or anything like that. It was just all a matter of helping the people in our neighborhood,” he says.
Some of the homes in the Columbia neighborhood on which the documentary is focused are still not habitable. Rachel Larratt lives in the neighborhood, where water was at the roof line of several houses. “Basically we were sitting at the top of the hill going, what are we going to do when the water recedes? Because you’re just, water’s everywhere and you know it’s dangerous and you don’t know when it’s going to come, how long it’s going to stay, and when it’s going to go away,” she says.
Gov. Nikki Haley gave an update last week on the state’s progress on rebuilding after the flooding, saying church volunteers are still at work on homes. “What is amazing is we have had $12 million in skilled work donated,” she told reporters.
Larratt says the neighborhood couldn’t have recovered as much as it has if not for the church volunteers. “I think anytime that there’s a tragedy people will come together and it kind of reminds you of what’s important,” she says. “And we’re alive and we’re able to get back into our homes because of all of the people who felt something important and they felt that they needed to help other people.”