NC Recovery Series: College Students Eager to Help North Carolina Communities Bounce Back After Florence

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - 9:47am

During the month of March, five different colleges came to North Carolina to help the North Carolina Baptists on Mission (NCBM) complete repairs to homes that were impacted by Hurricane Florence. During the week of March 10, college students from Ohio State University (OSU) spent their spring break helping two homeowners who were approved to participate in the North Carolina Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program.  The NC STEP program provides homeowners with limited, temporary repairs to make a home safe, clean and secure.  

Donations and contributions funded by the Southern Baptist Convention, NCBM and the students’ pitching in some of their money have enabled the successful and safe impact from OSU each year.  The OSU team has also had the opportunity to work with the North Carolina Baptists on Mission with recovery efforts after both Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Florence in 2018. 

The Ohio State University team have also helped flooded areas in Florida and Texas. “The flooding in North Carolina was by far the worst out of the three states,” said Buzz Kocher, one of the team leaders for the OSU group. 

For the past two years, there have been 11 team members - two team leaders and nine students - from Ohio State University to come and help with hurricane recovery efforts, but Kocher’s ultimate goal is to bring at least 40 people so that the volunteers can help with more homes over their spring break. They are already preparing to come back again next spring.

“The community aspect means a lot to these kids. So, I have no doubt that we won’t be able to reach that goal of bringing at least 40 people next year,” Kocher said. “The gospel changes people. And the willingness of these students shows that they have a big heart – physically and spiritually.” 

Ohio State University’s students have been helping different states with recovery efforts for some time now, but according to Buzz Kocher, the southern hospitality from North Carolinians - even in the midst of a disaster - keeps them coming back.


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.

Tierra Bethel