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From Irma to Harvey to Florence: Crew of young adults help Conwayites recover

Floodwaters are receding, and residents are returning to assess the damage Hurricane Florence inflicted on their homes. And while many families face the horrible realities of the damage, some are greeted with help from volunteer groups.

That’s the case for Joey and Jennifer Tyler, whose home on Sherwood Drive needed to be gutted.

Twelve young adults from across the nation, working with AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps, and several other out-of-state volunteers were removing damaged material from the house Monday afternoon.

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The AmeriCorps NCCC brings together young adults from the ages 18 to 21 to help with relief efforts. This crew just came come from Louisiana where they were helping repair flooded homes. October 1 2018. Jason Lee jlee@thesunnews.com

The house had standing water in its lower rooms, requiring the walls and flooring to be ripped out. The NCCC crews were wearing masks and full-body suits for protection from any airborne threats.

Johnathan Fessenden, 21, is from the Seattle area of Washington. He got involved with AmeriCorps after a friend returned from the program a changed person.

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Americorps volunteers from across the United States assist in mucking out the home of Joey Tyler on Sherwood Drive on Monday.The many volunteers that are helping with flood victims are organized under the Waccamaw VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters.) October 1 2018. Jason Lee jlee@thesunnews.com

He has helped with both Hurricane Irma and Harvey relief. Immediately before getting the order to come to Conway, he and his 12 crew members were restoring flooded homes in Louisiana. Covering these tragedies made him motivated to help.

“Now, I just can’t just ignore what I see on the news,” he said.

While this isn’t his first storm recovery, Fessenden said he was surprised to see standing water in the roads and in homes. He also was surprised by the manure-like smell coming from the water.

Sue Howard and her husband own property in Pawleys Island and were connected with the relief effort through their church. Other volunteers were in from Florida, like Rafael Ramirez, who works as a contractor.

“When I saw the storm coming, I dropped everything that came,” he said.

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Americorps volunteers from across the United States assist in mucking out the home of Joey Tyler on Sherwood Drive on Monday.The many volunteers that are helping with flood victims are organized under the Waccamaw VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters.) October 1 2018. Jason Lee jlee@thesunnews.com

The Waccamaw Volunteer Organizations Activated in Disasters has coordinated the various groups’ efforts. Todd Wood, with Impact Ministries, was leading the team, dropping off supplies to the crew working on the Tyler house.

Wood said people can still apply to help with the relief effort and to ask for assistance from the VOAD-affiliated groups. There are other AmeriCorps crews in the area looking to help.

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Sue Howard throws debris on a pile while helping to muck out Joey Tyler’s home on Sherwood Drive in Conway. Howard came to volunteer in South Carolina under Impact Ministries of Myrtle Beach after working the past week in North Carolina to muck out eight homes in that flooded region. The many volunteers that are helping with flood victims are organized under the Waccamaw VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters.) October 1 2018. Jason Lee jlee@thesunnews.com
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