Road to recovery: A year after Matthew, relief groups race to repair homes

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- It's been one year since Hurricane Matthew left a path of death and destruction in North Carolina. And residents are still displaced, forced to live out of motels and with family members.

United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministries has been on the ground since day one of the storm, as they repair and rebuild homes across the Sandhills.

Pennystone Drive is one of the several streets undergoing a makeover.

Joyce Elwood and her three children, with special needs, are having their home rebuilt after it was destroyed.

"My son said, 'Mom, I got water in my room.' I'm like okay," said Elwood.

Thinking her son simply spilled a glass of water, Elwood went back to bed. Minutes later, she woke up to find floodwaters up to her neck.

"I could've easily drowned being that I don't walk," said Elwood.

Her children helped rescuers get her to safety but she lost everything inside her home.

"I had graduation pictures in my living room," she said. "I had pictures of my husband and his family. And then my husband's ashes were on top of a TV screen."

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All of those precious memories were washed away but the real valuables were left unscathed.

"You still got your life and you still have your kids," she said. "That's material stuff but this here is more important."

These days, the Elwoods are living out a family member's den.

"There's nothing like being back inside your own house and stretching your legs," Elwood chuckled.

Thanks to Disaster Recovery Ministries, it won't be long before that's a reality.

"I'm waiting on them to give me to go ahead. Until then. I'm doing like my son says and "be surprised.'"

Don Evans, Project Manager for UMC said that's exactly what will happen.

"When she comes back home there's going to be nothing like it was when she left," Evans said. "The siding has been replaced, the roof. So, it's virtually a brand new home. We moved some walls because of her wheelchair and again that's a part of the love we all have for our survivors. We want them to get on with their lives as best as they can."

UMC hopes to have Elwood back in her home by Christmas.
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