NC Recovery Series:‘My Home Looked Like It Was on an Island’

Friday, April 5, 2019 - 8:46am

Wallace - Teresa Kelley, a Hurricane Florence survivor, has been a resident of the Town of Wallace in Duplin County since 2000. Her home is a half-mile from the Northeast Cape Fear River on a dirt road. Although the inside of Kelley’s home was not damaged by Hurricane Matthew in 2016, it was surrounded by water 10 feet deep.

As Hurricane Florence approached in 2018, Kelley and her husband evacuated six miles away to stay with their daughter’s boyfriend. After the storm, Kelley and her husband could not visit their home to view the damages until a week after the flooding diminished.

“My home looked like it was on an island. We had to take a boat,” Kelley said.
Kelley and her husband moved into a camper provided by a close friend. After FEMA contacted Kelley, she and her husband moved into a manufactured home. 

When Kelley and her husband were able to access her house, there was three feet of water in the house and mold everywhere. Sadly, Kelley lost a wooden table that her grandfather built for her more than 50 years ago, it was one of her most prized possessions

To be able to move back in, the family received help from the Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program. STEP provides partial repairs, to make a home habitable and secure, so families can return home while full repairs continue.

North Carolina Baptists on Mission (NCBM) work crews have already completed many STEP repairs including Kelley’s home. A variety of groups, including college students, Christian groups and other organizations are repairing homes damaged like Kelley’s.

“This a wonderful organization,” Kelley said about NCBM. She and her husband are now moved back in their home.

This is the first time a STEP program has been implemented in North Carolina. Contractors and volunteer groups such as NCBM and United Methodist Disaster Relief are working to complete their repairs by early April.

“This has been a big help financially. We have two rental homes that we are currently repairing ourselves,” Kelley said.


Hurricane Florence left a path of destruction and flooding through the state in September 2018. Since then, North Carolinians, with the help of federal and state resources, as well as nonprofit groups, have worked to rebuild hard hit areas. These stories showcase their recovery journeys as North Carolinians move forward rebuilding with strength and resilience.


Lossie McLean