North Carolina Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster are Steadily Making Homes Livable Again

Monday, April 8, 2019 - 8:53am

Fairmont – Phostenia McCrimmon, a United States military veteran and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, has lived in her home since 1980. McCrimmon served in the army for three years before moving to North Carolina permanently. As someone who does a lot of community service within her sorority, McCrimmon was overwhelmed by the help that she received from both Hurricane Matthew and Florence. 

“People came and helped me all the way from Winston Salem when Hurricane Matthew came,” McCrimmon said. “Matthew was a very emotional time for me as I wasn’t sure how I was going to get my home repaired. A tree fell on my home, but I never lost my power – which was also scary for me as everyone else on my street did.”

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for parts of Robeson County, but McCrimmon did not want to take any chances. She ended up staying at Fairmont Middle School shelter, one of four shelters in Robeson County, for three days and two nights. 

When McCrimmon returned home, she was shocked at the amount of damage from the flooding. The height of the flood-water came up to the second drawer of her dresser, which caused a lot of clothes and irreplaceable family items to be lost. 

McCrimmon moved back into her home on December 22nd, as her home was one of the first homes that the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) repaired through the Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program.  Other states have had STEP programs, but this is the first time that North Carolina has implemented it. The UMCOR is one of two North Carolina Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (NC VOAD) helping homeowners who have signed their Right of Entry (ROE) to participate in the STEP program.  The program provides basic, partial repairs to make homes safe, clean and secure to help North Carolina homeowners with damage from Hurricane Florence get back in their home quickly. 

“Regardless of what I lost, I have a lot of admiration for the United Methodist group,” McCrimmon said. “I mean, these were men and women who were 69 and 70 – years old. I had the pleasure of speaking with some of them and they were from Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Indiana. I am just thankful.”

Tierra Bethel