Church Community Helps Flood Victims Rebuild

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Nearly one hundred people joined together by a common faith have been working daily for more than three weeks to help members of their church family rebuild after the severe flood waters swept through YCity.

Five homes belonging to Bruce Tinsley's family were damaged or destroyed by the flooding. Tinsley and his family are Jehovah's Witnesses, and he said within hours of the storm passing on May 30, his church family was there to help.

Kenneth Rader with the Arkansas Regional Building Committee said the damage to the first floor of Tinsley's home was extensive and nearly everything needed to be replaced.

"This was raging water that went through here," said Rader. "It moved cars, it took out windows, siding, and so when we came in the bottom half of the homes were completely trashed."

Rader said all of the volunteers are members of the ARBC and bring their own expertise to the project. He said a support group has also helped keep the volunteers fed and hydrated during the long days on the job site.

The family lost most of their first-floor appliances and personal items in the flood, but Tinsley said church members helped them preserve some of his wife's favorite photos.

"My wife loves pictures," he said. "She takes pictures all the time, and we had sisters that took them home. They're still at their homes waiting for us to find a place to put them."

Rader said the volunteers are also there to support the Tinsley family emotionally and spiritually. Tinsley said the support his family has received from neighbors, his employer and his church community has been "awesome."

"There's no way we could've got back into our home this quick without the Witnesses, without people donating materials," Tinsley said. "There's still a lot to go, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel."

Tinsley said his family never considered moving away from their home after the flooding. The volunteers hope to have all five homes completed by June 30.