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Wilson Family One of Many Beginning to See Buyout Money

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WILSON — A 21-member Wilson family lost their home to Hurricane Floyd 15 months ago. They are now looking forward to a bigger and better home, thanks to buyout money.

Jeffrey and Myrtle Watson lived in a tiny house with their 19 children. Their new home is nearly three times the size of their current house, which is a modest 900 square feet.

"My intention was to expand it, but the flood destroyed everything," Jeffrey says. "So I wasn't able to do everything I had in mind."

After the home flooded last year during Hurricane Floyd, they moved back in and tried to fix it. Things went nowhere fast, so they later decided to take the buyout option from the government.

The money from that house would not pay for another dwelling large enough to meet the government's guidelines for such a large family. State workers got government recovery money and private donations to buy their new house.

The Watsons are some of the many people finally getting the buyout money they have waited for. Hundreds of potential homebuyers should mean a boom for Down East builders.

For Myrtle Watson, the buyout gives much-needed elbow room.

"I just put my faith in God, and I believed He would work things out for me," she says. "Since then, things have been working out for us."

This was an unusual case, so not every family that was flooded can expect a bigger house. But state money is in place to boost federal money, which makes finding an comparable home easier.

The Watsons expect to move in Dec. 18.