Hurricane Matthew survivors in Lumberton still hurting as new hurricane season begins

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ABC11 caught up with a Hurricane Matthew survivor to witness the recovery (WTVD)

As a new hurricane season begins, hundreds are still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Matthew nearly eight months after it slammed into our state.

Lumberton was one of the hardest hit areas. ABC11 set out to find out how some folks there are moving forward.


The force of the flood ripped Patricia Troy's home apart - the current was so strong it tumbled over her refrigerator and washer.

The house holds a lot of sentimental value for Troy. It was her parent's home; she remodeled it and just finished paying that off before Matthew hit. She's still dealing with the aftermath, unable to return to her home since October.

Her home is one of the 1,000 homes the "North Carolina Baptists on a Mission" plan to help rebuild for victims of Hurricane Matthew.

While volunteers are helping her rebuild one piece at a time, Patricia didn't realize how high the water was outside when it first crept in.

"I didn't have no room for no clothes because I had everything thrown across my shoulder because the water was way up to my waist," she said.

The pull of the current, leaving her unsure if she'd make it out alive.

"I got out, by the grace of God, with a stick and myself and asking God to lead me out of this water," Troy said. "Because I do not know how to swim."

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Patricia Troy recounts how she got out of her home as flood waters from Hurricane Matthew continued to rise

It's that same faith that's moved volunteers from all over the country to help.

"To pray with them and just to be a friend to them," Anthony Cooper, a volunteer from Rocky Mount, cited as his reason for helping. "Because there are so many hurting people we just want to be here to just kind of lift their spirits."

"If I can help other people out why not," Chris Chunat, a volunteer from Kentucky, said. "I've got the tools. I've got the skills."

"Everything was lost, but I'm still alive," Troy shared. "It's just a thrill to have these man to come in to help these families out that's in need and I'm really appreciative and grateful for their help."


Thinking about how they were rescued from the flooding brings 83-year-old Virginia Edwards and 74-year-old George Edwards to tears.

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Rebuilding efforts are still underway months after Hurricane Matthew struck NC

"It was terrible," Virginia said. "Trying to get out, and wanting to get out, and you know, I was scared we couldn't get out."

They were trapped in their home with flood waters rising. They survived because a neighbor rescued them by boat.

Their home was a complete loss, which was a tough pill to swallow for the retired couple. George suffered a stroke and heart attack and was concerned about the future. Now, though, their house is being rebuilt by the North Carolina United Methodist Church.

"And it was better you know, they helped us work on our house and all," Virginia said, crying.

"We've been cautioned many times to be prepared for the long haul," said Gary Locklear, the regional director for the church's disaster response team.

"Right now we're looking at four to six years for a full recovery in Robeson County."

Still, others struggle.


"I had just lost my husband in August and then [Hurricane Matthew] came," 69-year-old Janice Love said.

"And I thank the Lord it didn't, you know, go into my living quarters, but it did this," she said, pointing around a room with beauty supplies on the floor, a large portion on the wall paneling cut out along the perimeter of the floor. "This was my shop that I had been in operation 25 years."

Love has shut the doors to her beauty shop for good. Because it's a business, FEMA won't cover the damages. Still, the small space is attached to her home, and potentially rotting.

Janice feels grateful, though, choosing instead to learn from her experience.

"I just thank God that I didn't lose everything like some people did. I was blessed in that area. But I'd be a little cautious this time," she said. "When there's a warning we ought to heed to the warnings."
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