NICHOLS, S.C. (WBTW) – People that live in Nichols are in fear of the unknown. Many are still displaced from their homes and don’t know if they should rebuild or start over somewhere new.
Emily Johnson’s lived in her Nichols home for 50 years. Friday she returned, a month and a half after Hurricane Matthew forced hour out.
She hopes to move into her home next summer. For now, a friend is letting her borrow an RV as she works to restore the home where she raised her 3 children.
Johnson said, “It’s wonderful, it’s just so good to be home.”
But many of her neighbors and businesses in the area are not so sure they will return to the Town.
Many people with storm damage are living in other parts of Pee Dee and of the 22 businesses in the Town only one is open.
People in the Town are curious if the First Citizen’s Bank and Pharmacy will reopen.
Mayor Lawson Battle said, “It’s devastating. We have no income coming to the town. I don’t know how I will be able to keep paying to town employees.”
He says the Town will recover with time. He started posting notes on his office wall as he works to rebuild.
Mayor Battle explained, “It’s just a little checklist. Every time I put a check next to something it makes everyone happy.”
Town officials say senior citizens make up about 70% of the town’s population. They question, if they be able to rebuild?
Kathryn McCormick, a member of the Nichols Town Council explained, “When you have older citizens. It’s hard for them to start over. It’s hard physically. It’s hard mentally and financially for them to be able to start completely over.”
People in the Town say their faith in God and strong community ties will help them rebuild.
“We’re a strong close knit Town. We help each other and look after each other. We will make it… It may take a while… and it may never look the same again but it will be home… It will still be our Nichols.”
“I just ask that everyone please don’t forget Nichols now. The water is gone but now is when it’s really rough,” Mayor Battle adds.
The town has a ‘Town on Nichols disaster Relief Fund’ for citizens set up with Anderson bank in Mullins, S.C.
They are also accepting donations for the town employees.
Here is the link to the pay pal account: