Derek & Sherry Williams are lucky to be able to tell their story, but also unlucky as they need to re-build a home and a life, after Hurricane Matthew hit hard in Mullins, SC on Oct. 8th. Getting a direct hit with high winds and torrential rains brought floodwaters down the lakes and rivers as hadn’t been seen since the 1920’s. Flood stage in the area is 9’, the waters rose to an unprecedented 17’ above normal. Many other homes and belongings were washed down river, and those homes that remained intact were damaged by weeks of standing, muddy waters.
The Williams’ were forced to evacuate, with only room for a suitcase, some paperwork and their passports. They navigated the swift-running water upstream, eventually bringing them to higher ground, with phone guidance from the Coast Guard’s helicopters above.
It took two weeks for the floodwaters to subside enough to make the difficult trip back to their home, to survey the damages. They discovered the water had risen almost 4’ into the main floor. All fitments on the main floor and their garage were a total loss, along with significant property damage surrounding their home. They lost all their furniture, fixtures, appliances, flooring, cabinets, heat and well pumps, as well as their cars, truck, company car, two motorcycles, lawn tractor and yard equipment, not to mention precious family photos and heirlooms. Mold took hold of home furnishings, but their log home has natural wood and deters growth on walls -- small mercies.
FEMA insurance inspectors deemed their home and foundation to be sound, giving them the go-ahead to rebuild their home from its now bare-bones floor joists and wall studs. However, both FEMA and homeowner's insurance will only cover a portion of the value, of what they have lost in their home’s fitments, vehicles and equipment, and no contents insurance coverage is available in areas prone to floods.
Derek is brother to Melanie Wright and Rhoda Demings, and son of Ray & Sheena Williams, all of the Blackstock & Nestleton communities. Friends have rallied to help them rebuild, by starting a GoFundMe online donation page, at https://www.gofundme.com/dereks-hurricanematthew- fund-2um5jj3c.
A community fundraiser is being held on Friday, Dec. 2nd, at 7 p.m. in the Nestleton Hall, with games, a silent auction, a cash bar, prizes and more. Tickets are $15 ($20 at the door), and are available at Wright’s Feeds ‘N Needs by calling 905-986-4201, Claudette Archer at 905-259-8706, or Wilma Wotten at 905-986-4602. Donations of auction items or cash contributions may also be dropped off with the above-mentioned planners.
Please join our community, at the Nestleton Hall on Dec. 2nd, to support this family and their challenges ahead, rebuilding a home and a life together.
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