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Seven Springs Recovery Begins with Rebuilding of Community Spirit

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SEVEN SPRINGS — It has been two months since Hurricane Floyd wreaked havoc on Eastern North Carolina. In many places, the tedious process of rebuilding is still just beginning.

One of the hardest hit areas was the Wayne County town of Seven Springs, where residents are slowly accepting their new lives after the flood.

Today, you can drive down Main Street in Seven Springs. Seven weeks ago, you needed a boat to get anywhere.

After Hurricane Floyd, streets and dreams were underwater.

"It's just been a lot of chaos to me," says 75-year-old Geneva Dawson.

WRAL first met Dawson in September when she was cleaning out the home she had lived in for 50 years. She is still cleaning.

For now, Dawson lives in a small camper, because her home is not livable.

"It's my home, and I'll never feel comfortable anywhere else, I don't think," she says.

It's hard for W.A. Weeks to talk about what flood waters did to the home he built in 1956.

In September, Weeks and his wife Bessie could only view their home across the flood water. Today, they are living in a mobile home, and are trying to rebuild what they lost.

"We're still emotional, because there's a lot of good points and dreams in that house," says an emotional Weeks.

It is hard to be optimistic when your house is still unlivable, but the people in Seven Springs say hope is all they have left.

"I told somebody yesterday that I was born here, and I would probably die here. I hope not from drowning. I'm coming back," says Mayor Jewel Kilpatrick.

And so is the town.

This week, residents are trying to rebuild the community's spirits by building a Christmas nativity scene.

More evidence of the town's recovery is that people are finally laughing again.

"My commode is still on the front porch, and I would say that I'm in trouble with a commode on the front porch," laughs Dawson.

Weeks is getting rid of the dead plants in his yard. By spring, he hopes for a rebirth in the garden, and in the town he loves.

Despite their losses, the town has decided to go ahead with their annual Christmas Parade on Saturday afternoon. They hope the event will help the community come together, and for at least a day, forget their troubles.

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Amanda Lamb, Reporter
Adrienne Traxinger, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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