Group from Michigan on a mission to help Hampstead family rebuild

Updated: Jun. 25, 2019 at 3:15 PM EDT
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PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Ruth Best’s home in Hampstead was a hive of activity inside and out on Tuesday.

The ground level of the house on Circle Lane took on two feet of water during and after Hurricane Florence, ruining the room and almost everything in it.

Best and her daughter, Amy Coleman, share the Circle Lane living space, which got considerably smaller for both of them and Coleman’s dog after the flood. Without flood insurance, money for repairs wasn’t readily available so Best and Coleman depended on help from local church groups to rebuild the room but missionaries from 900 miles away are putting the finishing touches on it.

“I cannot tell you how blessed I feel,” Best, who is in her late 80s, said.

Members of Orchard Lake Presbyterian Church in Michigan were busy painting the room Tuesday and they’re going to lay flooring as well.

Carol Swartz, a member at Topsail Presbyterian, knows a couple of people who attend Orchard Lake and heard about their volunteer efforts in and around Detroit.

According to Reverend Paul Thwaite, groups from Orchard Lake made several trips to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and when Swartz presented the Michigan church with the idea of doing Florence recovery work this week in Hampstead, Holly Ridge and Burgaw, Thwaite said a mission trip to North Carolina was put into motion.

"It's a touch warmer here than it was in Michigan but we're adjusting to that," Thwaite said, his shirt soaked in sweat after painting. "We pretty much come and say, 'Tell us where you want us and what you want us to do,' then try to do the best we can."

Work wasn’t limited to the ground floor at the Best home on Tuesday. Several people were also outside helping Best in the yard and garden, where she spends time daily.

When told she must feel lucky to have so many people trying to get her home back in order, Best said, “I think the word is not lucky, but blessed.”

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