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In North Carolina, “it was through the Lord we helped them out”

August 6, 2020

A schoolteacher and his family in Bessemer City, North Carolina, are safely in a newly repaired home thanks to volunteers coordinated by the North Carolina Unit of Mennonite Disaster Service.

After a windstorm ripped part of the roof off the home, subsequent rains caused a great deal of water damage. Volunteers repaired it all. The biggest reward, said volunteer Merlin Detweiler, was seeing “the demeanor of the family change almost instantly.”

To work as safely as possible amid the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers traveled separately to the home, worked only on Saturdays, and accomplished their tasks either socially distanced or wearing masks.

“We had to be very careful how many people we had inside and when,” said Detweiler. “The first week, we cleaned up and made sure the home would stay dry.”

Crews then removed the old roof and installed a completely new one. Inside, they replaced damaged windows, cabinets and other fixtures.

Detweiler also began showing the family, which includes four teenagers, how to move repairs along during the week when the volunteers weren’t around.

“Then we’d go back there and knock out something bigger,” said Detweiler.

It took volunteers and the family six weeks to finish the job. “I made a good friend in the homeowner,” said Detweiler, who used social media and word of mouth to recruit fellow volunteers.

“He is a schoolteacher and a Christian young man. It was of the Lord that we helped them out. They will pass it along.”