Marion County towns recover from Hurricane Matthew 1 year later

SELLERS SC (WBTW) – Sunday marks one year since Hurricane Matthew hit South Carolina and impacted hundreds of people in Marion County.

The storm left the towns of Nichols and Sellers under water and many people are still not back in their homes.

Sellers Mayor Barbara Hopkins believes the small town of about 250 people, within the town limits, has been forgotten. She says one year later the town is hopeful it will rebuild.

Dozens of homes empty while some people live in mold-infested homes one year after Hurricane Matthew flooded the small town of Sellers.

“I know some of the people are inhaling mold right now… living in these homes,” said Hopkins.

Hopkins says the people in the town face a unique set of obstacles since most of the homes are older and passed down by family members without documentation.

“They don’t have paperwork. They don’t have deeds. They don’t have a way of getting their deeds,” said Hopkins. “These houses are so old in this community… they need fixing period.”

Hopkins estimates about 30- 50 people are not back in their homes. Bryan Inman says he is living with family members until he can move.

“It’s been rough… like I know they are ready to get back home. I’m ready to get back in the house as well… but we just haven’t really had help,” said Inman.

Two homes were rebuilt by South Carolina Disaster Recovery and church groups repaired two others. Allen James moved back earlier this year.

“I’m the only one back in my home on this street and it feels good. I wish some of the other ones would hurry up and get back because I’m in the middle of nobody,” said James.

The Town received $12,000 in donations. Council decided to give up to $500 dollars to residents that have proof of repairs but Hopkins says the town needs more help to fully recover.

“What we need now is more volunteers to come into the town show some love. And try to help some of these people get back into their home that don’t have the paperwork and can’t get the paperwork. If there is some financial assistance,” said Hopkins. “If anybody can hear me today Sellers needs your help.”

Nichols Town Administrator Sandee Rogers released a statement that says:

As we reflect through the past year following the devastation of the floods from Hurricane Matthew, we find ourselves overwhelmed with many emotions.  We have witnessed loss unlike any other experienced in our area and this has been heartbreaking beyond words.  We have chosen to not reflect on the devastation but in turn to focus on the MANY positive aspects that have emerged from the event.  Because of this, there has been no scheduled event to commemorate the flood.  Instead we have chosen to do a Hope and Thanksgiving event on November 18, 2017 the weekend before Thanksgiving.  We have much to be thankful for and it is for this we will celebrate.  This event is open to all and we look forward to the date.  Until then, on this anniversary week we:

First and foremost we give much credit to our citizens.  They have proven their resilience and their love for this community. They have crossed many seemingly insurmountable obstacles and they are all the stronger for it  They have chosen to wait out the processes and return home.  And although most continue to wait, as this process is not fast, they are doing so with hopeful anticipation.  Their strength is our inspiration.Mere “Thank You” pales in comparison to the gratefulness we have for the many donations that have come into our Town to ensure our families have the ability to return home and our town government remains viable to help these families.  It’s been a year and every donation, grant, and gift that comes in is just as important as the very first one that was received.  Thank you for continuing to remembering this “Little Town That Could”  for we can and we will rebuild stronger and better.  We believe wholeheartedly that the small town is the backbone of America and we will not give up on the American dream.

-Mere “Thank You” pales in comparison to the gratefulness we have for the many donations that have come into our Town to ensure our families have the ability to return home and our town government remains viable to help these families.  It’s been a year and every donation, grant, and gift that comes in is just as important as the very first one that was received.  Thank you for continuing to remembering this “Little Town That Could”  for we can and we will rebuild stronger and better.  We believe wholeheartedly that the small town is the backbone of America and we will not give up on the American dream.

-The volunteer workers who have dedicated themselves through this process are incredible.  They enter each day smiling and ready to work.  They epitomize our never give up attitude and without them we could have never made the tremendous amount of progress we have made in this short amount of time.  To Habitat for Humanity, the Mennonites, the Brethren, The Baptist Disaster Relief, The United Methodist Baptist Relief, Pastor Johnson, Pastor Collier, Pastor Inabinet, Pastor Rogers and ALL who have generously volunteered to help their neighbor and their Town  . . . We extend a heartfelt Thank You.  You work directly with the ones who have lost it all.  Your ministry is a giftFrom the very

-From the very beginning we have learned that there are great people with great hearts. It’s a true testimonial of humankind caring for one another.  To the Drs. Of McLeod Hospital in Florence who volunteered their time to administer to our citizens, The Nichols Steering Committee, The Marion County Healthcare Foundation, Anderson Brothers Bank, Mullins-Marion Rotary Club, Mullins and Marion Lions Club, SBP, SC One,  the average citizen who donated their time to work in distribution of goods,  area local governments who have shown their compassion and offered assistance such as manpower, police cars and even a Fire Engine from Delaware . . . we are eternally grateful.

-Our legislative community and State and Federal government have been exceptional.  There has been no call unreturned and no stone unturned throughout this process thus helping to propel us forward to a new normal.  Sen. Scott, Sen Williams, Representative Rice, former Gov. Nikki Haley, The SC House and Senate, The SC National Guard, Marion County EMD, Marion County Sheriff’s Dept, SLED, Greenville SC EMD, Dillon SCDOT, Marion SCDOT, Columbia SCEMD, DCM, HUD . . . the list goes on and on.  We will never forget your attentiveness and help.  You were here in a moment’s notice and have yet to leave our side. To our friends of the news media – we couldn’t be where we are without you.  You have not forgotten and your continuing efforts to keep Nichols in the public view has been instrumental

-To our friends of the news media – we couldn’t be where we are without you.  You have not forgotten and your continuing efforts to keep Nichols in the public view has been instrumental to our efforts.  I’m certain that this has been challenging on your part as through the business we are not always available, but your patience and dedication has been MUCH appreciated.

-Mayor Battle, the Town of Nichols Council, the Nichols Town Clerk, and the employees at the Nichols Town Hall have endured a year like no other.  We are excited for our future as it holds much promise. This is not to say that the next several years will remain without obstacles. There will be.  Donations are still needed to get everyone home and there remains much work to be done.  What we are certain of is that the future is promising and only because of the love of a “Little Town that Could”.

County and state leaders are working to clear overgrown ditches in both Nichols and Sellers.

To find out how you can help the towns recover visit http://nicholssc.org/ or call the Sellers town hall at (843) 752-5009.