‘We’re starting over’: Samaritan’s Purse helps Leland residents repair destroyed homes

September 27, 2018

People in one Leland community were cleaning up on Sept. 26, 2018, nearly two weeks after Hurricane Florence slammed the North Carolina coast with days of heavy rain.

Where do you turn when there’s nowhere left to turn?

That’s what families in the Stony Creek Plantation neighborhood in Leland have been left to ask following Hurricane Florence.

Florence’s floodwaters destroyed 50 homes in the area.

“That’s 40 years of memories of being married to my wife,” said Steve Hubbard, who was speaking about a mound of ruined possessions. “It’s devastating, that’s all I can say. It’s devastating.”

Homeowners evacuated during the storm and came back to find nearly 8 feet of water had been in their homes.

“It’s everything we had for the past 50 years. It’s basically gone. We’re starting over,” James Zwally said.

The international Christian nonprofit disaster relief group Samaritan’s Purse, out of Boone, was helping the homeowners on Wednesday clean out their homes so they can begin to rebuild.

“When the homeowner sees the bare studs, but its completely clean, all the nails are pulled, it gives them a lot of hope,” said Keeth Willingham.

Hope also comes in the form of kindness that the 1,600 Samaritan’s Purse volunteers from all over the country are sharing with the victims.

“First off, encourage them, love on them, try to give them a sense of normalcy in the midst of the devastation,” said Shelley Brown, a volunteer from Atlanta.

Hubbard said for his family the volunteers have made all the difference.

“There’s no way we could have done this by ourselves. Nobody could,” he said.

“We are so happy to serve and to be able to give back,” Brown said.

Samaritan’s Purse has had three teams assisting in communities across eastern North Carolina. They are waiting for floodwaters to recede in many areas before they can continue to help.

Another 2,000 volunteers are on a wait list to help. Officials with Samaritan’s Purse say they expect to be in the area through October.

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