Nichols residents hear update on disaster recovery process

Nichols, SC - Terry Sarvis

NICHOLS, SC (WBTW) – The pews of First Friendship Baptist Church in Nichols were full Thursday evening, but not for church services. Instead, residents were praying and asking town officials when and how fast the recovery will come.

“It’s not like an insurance police where you had loss and you get some money,” said Jim Battle. “We want to get you back in your home.”

Battle said he and the rest of the Nichols Recovery Team are hard at work to do just that. Unfortunately, he said, things don’t always go as fast as many may want.”

“When I was asked to serve on this committee, I thought it would be no problem, the money would come in, we’d take a look, but you want to make sure that everything is done correctly,” Battle said.

It’s that second part–and the time it takes recovery teams to do it–that means waiting. That’s not easy to do when you can’t go home.

“This is my home place,” Geraldine Johnson said, standing in front of her home still not safe to live in. “I’m ready to get back in it.”

“We’re trying to do as much as we can with what little resources we have,” explained Nichols Mayor Lawson Battle.

One way to help is a housing grant program aimed at first helping those most in need–like the elderly or those with small children–put a roof over their heads. This Saturday, five new homes will be unveiled in Nichols, and Jim Battle said that’s just the beginning.

“Our mission is to help the town of Nichols recover by putting people back in their homes,” he said.

This week the Nichols Long-Term Recovery Steering Committee also approved three more homes that will be built with an initial $75,000 grant.

Residents also heard updates on the Nichols Police and Fire Departments.  Both lost equipment in the storm, but are now up and running, thanks to donations from across the country.

“We’re making small progress,” Mayor Battle said. “But any progress is good progress.”