Some of the victims who lost their homes in the Aug. 5 flooding in Dry Creek should be in new houses by Christmas.
Walter Crouch, president and CEO of Appalachia Service Project, said his organization has been working on securing funds, pulling permits and getting plans for construction of new homes since the flood.
Torrents of rain fell on Washington County, especially the southern end of the county, Aug. 5 causing the destruction of several homes along Dry Creek Road when the creek that road is named after gushed over its banks.
The home of Douglas Wilson was swept off its foundation and came to rest in the middle of Dry Creek Road. His home will be the first one to be built by ASP.
The plans for the houses are pretty much the same — three bedrooms, one bath, living room, kitchen and laundry room inside a 24-by-36 structure.
Ground was officially broken on his new home at 293 Dry Creek Road Tuesday morning, though footers had already been poured and foundation block was ready to be laid. Crouch said the house will be framed by this weekend.
Wilson said he was grateful for everyone and God for getting his new home started, though he was a bit overwhelmed. He was glad that he may have a new home in which to celebrate Christmas.
“That would be a heck of a Christmas present,” Wilson said with a grin.
The lot of Wilson’s neighbor also was being prepared Tuesday and Crouch said there are around 40 homes along Dry Creek that will be fixed or built new.
“We’re going to try to head up the effort on all of them,” Crouch said.
With all funding streams considered, about $1.38 million has so far been donated to the ASP effort to rebuild the homes. Crouch said he wants to raise about $1.5 million for the whole project. Several local politicians presented a $300,000 check from the Tennessee Housing Development Authority Tuesday morning before the ground-breaking ceremony.
In-kind gifts of block and drywall and other materials and labor puts the total amount of resources at around $3 million for the project.
“And this takes care of everything from building the home to (installing the) septic tanks and things like that,” Crouch said. “So when families move in it’s turnkey for them. It’s free. It won’t cost them a thing.”
ASP has been around for 43 years and this year will build or repair 700 homes across Central Appalachia.
The organization depends on volunteers. So far 30 or 40 volunteers have come out to help prepare sites for new homes in Dry Creek, though the organization has been there since August.
“Before it’s done we will probably have in the neighborhood of probably close to 1,000 volunteers that will be working on these homes over the next 12 months,” Crouch said.
Crouch said everyone in Dry Creek has been extremely grateful for the help ASP will provide.
“The folks are very appreciative of the work we’re going to do and it’s just a neat effort to have everybody come together and, think about these first four or five homes — these folks will hopefully be home for Christmas,” he said.
For more information about the ASP and upcoming work in Dry Creek, call Hart Teague at 854-4426 or email email@example.com.