Local News

Volunteers Help Riegelwood Rebuild After Tornado

Posted February 5, 2007 6:32 p.m. EST
Updated February 5, 2007 7:00 p.m. EST

According to Riegelwood resident Darryl McNair, the process of building a new residence to replace his ruined trailer home is a wonderful sight.

"It's a beautiful thing to see people come together and to react so fast,” McNair said.

Since the tornado blasted through the small Columbus County community on Nov. 16, McNair has lived with his mother nearby. Now, volunteers are helping him recover a small bit of what he lost.

"Every morning, I go out and speak to them. 'How y'all doing'?' They come around (to talk). It's a beautiful thing," McNair said

The North Carolina Baptist Men are building three houses for Riegelwood residents displaced by the storm. They’re also repairing homes and buildings damaged in the storm and plan to build three more houses at a later date.

"We're just out here offering some hope in the name of Jesus,” said volunteer Billy Tarlton. “We're trying to help some people out and put some smiles back on their faces."

The volunteers aren’t throwing caution to the wind. The new residences are stick-built houses with concrete foundations.

"Not that they didn't have a decent home before, but we want to give them back something a little bit better,” Tarlton said.

The construction began last week and attracted dozens of volunteers this past weekend. Organizers said they expect the houses to be completed sometime this month.

Volunteer Betty Ezzell is retired and lives on a beach, but raking dirt in the 39-degree chill in Riegelwood is something she’s happy to do.

"I feel so blessed,” Ezzell said. “You really should share when you feel as blessed as I do."