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Updated: November 22, 2016

Ten families ‘Home for Thanksgiving’
Flood victims in Rainelle and White Sulphur Springs to receive keys to new homes

 

The outlook was bleak for families in Rainelle, White Sulphur Springs, and other communities in West Virginia after the devastating flooding in June 2016. Or, it was bleak until organizations like Appalachia Service Project and Homes for White Sulphur Springs stepped in to aid in long-term recovery.

 

On Tuesday, November 22 both Appalachia Service Project and Homes for White Sulphur Springs will be giving keys to brand new homes to several families that were devastated by the June flood. Appalachia Service Project will hold their key ceremony and home dedication at 10:30 a.m. at Grace Village (188 Chestnut Street) in Rainelle. Homes for White Sulphur Springs will conduct their key ceremony and home dedication at 2:30 p.m. at Hope Village on Big Draft Road in White Sulphur Springs.

 

Brandy Lambert is receiving one of the new homes from Appalachia Service Project. Brandy, whose home was completely destroyed by flooding, will be receiving a new, two bedroom home to share with her 8 year old niece, Alivia. Brandy works at the Rite Aid in Rainelle, only walking distance from her new home. “I love to walk by my new house at night to take pictures and see the progress!” Brandy said.

 

Also receiving keys to their new home will be David and Sherry Clark. The couple, their four children and two grandchildren were all living under the same roof prior to the flood. Immediately after the flood they lived in tents in their yard until they were provided with FEMA trailers. ASP has built the first of two new homes for the family.

 

According to ASP President/CEO Walter Crouch, “We want to return families to their homes as quickly as possible. The generosity of our donors and volunteers has meant that six families will be in new homes by Thanksgiving. What an incredible Thanksgiving blessing.”

Updated: October 27, 2016

Munsey Memorial UMC partners with ASP for ‘Rebuilding Rainelle’
Appalachia Service Project’s long-term recovery effort to help rebuild the community of Rainelle, West Virginia

 

On June 23 a youth group from Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church was volunteering with Appalachia Service Project (ASP) to perform major home repairs for homeowners in Rainelle, WV. That night, flooding devastated Rainelle and other communities across the state. The facility in which ASP volunteers were staying was flooded, as were several of the homes where volunteers were working. Three groups were stranded overnight at their worksites—unable to safely return to their ASP “center”.

 

Last weekend, the people of Munsey Memorial raised over $57,000 to help Appalachia Service Project rebuild homes in Rainelle. On Thursday, October 27 at 4 p.m., representatives from the church will present this gift to ASP’s President/CEO, Walter Crouch.

 

Munsey’s partnership is a key step in ‘Rebuilding Rainelle’, Appalachia Service Project’s long-term recovery effort to help rebuild the community of Rainelle, West Virginia, the epicenter of June’s deadly flood.

 

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Updated: October 18, 2016

_coach_g_We are saddened this evening to hear about the passing of a husband, father, friend, coach, teacher and all around community hero–Russ ‘Coach G’ Gilkeson. ASP solicits your prayers for Becky, the Gilkeson family, the students of Greenbrier West High School and the town of Rainelle, WV. May God give comfort.

 

Updated: October 14, 2016

First Home Dedication for ‘Rebuilding Rainelle’
Appalachia Service Project’s long-term recovery effort to help rebuild the community of Rainelle, West Virginia

 

On Friday, October 14, Appalachia Service Project (ASP) will dedicate Russ & Becky Gilkeson’s new house—the first new home to be built in West Virginia for a flood victim. Russ is a former teacher and coach at Greenbrier West High School.

 

The Gilkeson’s home is being built through Rebuilding Rainelle–Appalachia Service Project’s long-term recovery effort to help rebuild the community of Rainelle, West Virginia, the epicenter of June’s deadly flood. This is the first of up to 50 new homes that ASP will build for families devastated by the flooding in June.

 

Many gracious partners helped make the Gilkeson’s home possible through their support of Rebuilding Rainelle. Partners from Johnson City, TN where Appalachia Service Project is headquartered include Mullican Flooring, Grace Meadows Church, Munsey United Methodist Church, and BedInABox.com. West Virginian partners include the United Way of Greenbrier Valley, Homes for West Virginia, Window World ® of Beckley, The Potomac Highlands Fuller Center and the Cales Family Foundation. The Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises (FAHE), of which ASP is a member, has contributed funding to the effort. Solid Rock Carpenters in Chicago built and shipped three complete sets of walls.

 

Volunteer groups including students from West Virginia University, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech’s ASP College Service Project, along with churches and groups from Ohio, Tennessee, Iowa, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Illinois and North Carolina have come to help rebuild Rainelle. ASP has also partnered with two other volunteer groups, Christian Aid Ministries and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, to help with Rebuilding Rainelle.

 

The flood—one of the worst in state history—destroyed over 1,000 homes statewide and 23 people lost their lives. Rainelle was devastated, including 90% of the homes near the downtown area. Five people in Rainelle did not survive.

 

Many of Rainelle’s low-income homeowners are unable to rebuild their homes because they have no insurance, are unable to qualify for emergency loans and have few personal resources. These families are the focus of ASP’s longer term recovery efforts through Rebuilding Rainelle.

 

According to ASP President/CEO Walter Crouch, “Rebuilding Rainelle will bring volunteer and financial resources together to build new homes and perform major rehab on homes that are repairable. We have been working alongside Rainelle Mayor Andy Pendleton and other community leaders, and have identified as many as 50 homes that will need to be replaced and countless others that will need to be repaired.”

 

“For families receiving replacement homes, we will provide them with energy efficient and low maintenance homes,” said Crouch. “Our standard floorplan is a three bedroom, one bath home—864 square feet—but the number of bedrooms can be adapted to fit the family’s needs.”

 

“Gifts of grace” are what Crouch calls the home repairs and new homes that ASP provides. “No mortgages are involved. It’s a fresh start for those in need and allows us to reach families without regard to their credit history or income level. We do, however, require owners of new homes to attend financial literacy and homeownership courses to prepare them for a successful future in their new home.”

 

Families impacted by the flooding in Rainelle can apply to ASP for consideration. Visit www.asphome.org/apply and click the “apply for home repair online” button (fastest method), or pick up an application at the Rainelle Town Hall or Red Star Lumber. Filling out an application does not guarantee selection and additional applicant requirements are required. ASP will determine with a home assessment whether or not repairs or a new home is needed.

 

Rebuilding Rainelle is just one part of ASP’s larger outreach to families in need across Central Appalachian Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Updated: August 8, 2016

From Walter Crouch, ASP President/CEO:

 

I am pleased to announce Rebuilding Rainelle, Appalachia Service Project’s long term recovery effort to help rebuild the community of Rainelle, West Virginia, the epicenter of June’s deadly flood.  ASP has served in Rainelle the last two summers, developing strong relationships with many families in the community.  Some of these families have lost everything.

 

The flood, one of the worst in state history, destroyed over 1,000 homes statewide and 23 people lost their lives.  Rainelle was devastated, including 90% of the homes near the downtown area.  Five people in Rainelle did not survive.  With initial relief efforts coming to an end, many of Rainelle’s low-income homeowners are unable to rebuild their homes, having no insurance, unable to qualify for emergency loans and having few, if any, personal resources.  These families are the target of ASP’s longer term recovery efforts through Rebuilding Rainelle.

 

Rebuilding Rainelle will bring volunteer and financial resources together to build new homes and perform major rehab on homes that are repairable.  Working alongside the Mayor of Rainelle and other community leaders, we have identified as many as 50 homes that will need to be replaced and countless others that will need to be repaired.

 

Donations toward home repair and replacement homes will be matched—dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000—doubling the impact of your gift.

 

Help by Volunteering

We are now accepting group volunteer registrations for service beginning September 18.  Volunteer groups will stay in a church or other facility, similar to our summer program housing arrangements.  The cost is $20/day for food and utilities.  All other costs associated with Rebuilding Rainelle…materials, staff, ministry overhead…are being raised through individual donors, churches, and foundations. Initially, a higher concentration of volunteers with construction skills is needed and we hope volunteers with all skill levels will join us in the response.

 

Help fund Rebuilding

We are also asking the ASP family to help us fund this work through their goodwill donations.  Most repairs are going to be extensive and costly.  The new homes we are building and the repairs will be provided at no direct cost to the homeowner.  You, your church, your friends, your school, your employer or your group can help by making a contribution to ASP’s Rebuilding Rainelle Fund.  Any amount will be appreciated. Your gift can be designated to go towards building replacement homes, home repairs, or where needed most.

 

Help by being a Sponsor or Co-Sponsor of a New Home

Partner with ASP to Sponsor or Co-Sponsor a home. Each three bedroom, one bathroom, energy-efficient home built for a family whose home is beyond reasonable repair will require a $20,000 Sponsorship. That Sponsorship will be matched with other funding to make each home possible. Co-Sponsorships of $10,000 and $5,000 can be combined with others to total the $20,000 needed for each home. Donations of any amount are appreciated and will be pooled with other funds to underwrite a home.

 

The ASP family spreads across this country from California to Maine and is tens of thousands strong.  If we focus our resources of volunteer labor and financial contributions, we can rebuild a town that desperately needs our help.  Will you help ASP be the hands and feet of Christ in Rainelle?

 

Thank you for your love of the people of central Appalachia and ASP!

Updated: July 2, 2016

The rains came. The waters rose. And homes and lives were washed away.

 

But God knew that Appalachia Service Project would be there to be His hands and feet for West Virginia even before the first raindrop fell.

 

As you know, devastating floods caused by torrential rains swept through southern West Virginia last Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. By the time daylight revealed the damage from the night before, 23 people had lost their lives and hundreds of businesses and homes were destroyed by the raging waters from the flash flooding.

 

Forty-four counties were declared to be in a state of emergency and three were immediately declared disaster areas by President Obama. Appalachia Service Project was in two of those three counties, Nicholas and Greenbrier, each having a youth volunteer work center that opened at the beginning of summer. By the grace of God and the good work of our summer staff, all of our volunteers at those centers were kept safe. By all accounts, Greenbrier County was hardest hit as fifteen people died in that county alone. Yesterday, I visited Rainelle in Greenbrier County where our center is located.

 

As I entered the small town of 1,500, I was surprised by the debris in the streets. Not the broken limbs, up-rooted trees, crumbled houses and abandoned cars which I expected, but the piles upon piles of water-damaged furniture, clothing, appliances, books and personal items that were already carried out of stores and houses and piled on the sides of the streets; the same streets that just a few days earlier were navigated by rescue boats as the flood reached its peak. Though people were working busily to clean up and dry out their homes and businesses, it was eerily quiet. The stillness reflected the somber determination of these people who had suddenly lost everything to start over again, to rebuild their hopes and dreams.

 

Most with whom I talked were also thankful to be alive and thankful for the outpouring of disaster relief volunteers who were there to help them clean up so that rebuilding can begin. ASP volunteers are working from two sites, Rainelle and Rosedale, to help with the relief effort in Greenbrier County. In the weeks to come hundreds of other volunteers will join in the effort until our summer program comes to an end.

 

But Rainelle, West Virginia needs much more than the few short weeks ASP has left to help. Longterm recovery from a disaster is measured in years, not weeks. So we have decided to help in recovery efforts beyond summer and into the fall and for the next year and through next summer—as long as it takes. We simply cannot abandon our friends in their time of need.

 

Rebuilding homes takes both financial and volunteer resources. We need partners like you to help us serve these good people as they rebuild their lives and homes. Join us today with a sacrificial gift and a commitment to volunteer!

 

With God’s grace and guidance, we will help Rainelle rebuild. Will you help us?

Walter B. Crouch

President/CEO

 

PS. A disaster of this magnitude brings a lot of emotional heartache and suffering. In addition to considering a financial gift, would you please pray for our volunteers as they interact with the victims of this disaster that we might also offer comfort and healing beyond the tangible work of repairing homes? Thank you