AmeriCorps group works to restore what Conway flood victims lost

Grand Strand

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Volunteers from around the country are in the city to help restore homes as flooding from Hurricane Florence recedes. 

A dozen AmeriCorps volunteers began work on their fourth flooded house after Florence. The college-age students and recent graduates are part of the National Civilian Community Corps in AmeriCorps. 

With some masking tape, a hazmat suit, a respirator and rubber gloves, the AmeriCorps volunteers are ready to clean up a flooded home.

“We’re really doing exactly what they need right now and it’s an honor to be able to do it,” said Robert Stone, a volunteer from western North Carolina and a recent graduate of the University of Vermont.

The 18- to 24-year-olds say their calling is to travel around the country volunteering in natural disasters.

“There’s a lot of communities that need help,” said Johnathan Fessenden, a volunteer from Washington state. “This is the best way to do it, in my opinion, at my age and what I’m capable of doing.”

Before you can restore a flooded home, you have to remove anything wet or hiding mold spores.

“We’re taking out the hardware to take off all doors and we’re soon going to start taking off all the drywall and all the insulation that’s also affected by the flooding,” said Emily Johnson, a volunteer from near Chicago and a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

The AmeriCorps group is working with the United Way of South Carolina and Waccamaw VOAD to restore homes in the city’s Sherwood neighborhood.

The volunteers say the hard work is worth it to save what some families could have lost.

“Being a part of that force that can get homeowners back into their homes and return to some sort of a normal life is always a rewarding thing,” Fessenden said.

Other AmeriCorp groups have also helped in Hurricane Florence disaster relief in Horry County and all over the Carolinas.

This group will leave next weekend and prepare for wherever they’re needed next.

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