One year after historic October floods, groups still rebuild homes in Johnsonville


JOHNSONVILLE, S.C. (WBTW)- Tuesday marks one year since the historic flooding in South Carolina that damaged homes, roads and left many still recovering a year later.

The Florence Baptist Association immediately responded to provide disaster relief in the wake of the flood. Their work still continues a year later, though. Volunteers affiliated with the group have helped to build 100 homes in Florence County since January.

“We don’t give up on them. It doesn’t matter about the time. The homeowner such as Miss Sheena…she waits patiently, prays and God doesn’t give up on us,” Matt Wiemeyer Executive Director of Operation Strength said.

img_4390Wiemeyer along with a group of volunteers from Pennsylvania spent the last week in Johnsonville helping Sheena Generett rebuild her roof that was damaged in last year’s floods.

“I appreciate what they’re doing and this is really just the beginning because now once they finish with the roofing, I don’t have to worry about that coming through so this has been a blessing to me,” Generett said.

Generett said she recalls seeing water coming into her home and completely covering her yard and the tires of her car. Since then the family has been in a state of transition.

“This last year has been very, very, very…it took a toll on my family. Everybody had to shift from one room to other rooms in the house. We couldn’t go in certain rooms.”

Her reality is one for many people in the Pee Dee who have not received any federal aid.

“There are a lot of misconceptions, some people have the idea FEMA came in and gave people lots of money and that’s just not the case,” Chris Smith, Director of Missions with the Florence Baptist Association said.

That’s where the group and its volunteers from across the country come in. They’ve donated nearly a half a million dollars toward home repairs in the Pee Dee.

“You know if we can give them a nice stable house to come back into that is so rewarding and it doesn’t matter how far you travel for that, you get the same results,” Wiemeyer said.

For those who work long days and hours on homes in our area, it’s really a labor of love for them.

“It’s sort of a show of our Christian love. We do it as a team. We get more out of it than probably some of the homeowners actually do. We enjoy this even though it is hot. You get a good feeling when you’re actually helping somebody else,” Chris Kessler said.

As much as they’ve done, the work is far from over. They have more than 100 homes left on their list and will remain in the area until next Summer making sure everyone that needs help, receives it.