Volunteers rebuild veteran's condemned home

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Mold covered the walls, filth lined the house, holes were in the sheet rock and there were leaks in the roof. It may be hard to imagine, but that is what one Ocean Springs veteran was living in just a few months ago.

"It was appalling," Back Bay Mission Associate for Housing Recovery Craig Steenkamp said. "It was not in good shape, so with all the damage, termite damage, and deterioration with all the roof damage we thought it was best to gut it."

Back Bay Mission employees and volunteers had to start by clearing out everything inside the house so they could go inside.

"It's come a long way in a few weeks," Steenkamp said. "It's important that we address the needs of the homeowners and bring everything up to date, and make sure they are in a better place long term."

Volunteers with the First Congregation United Church of Christ in River Falls, WI are lending a hand during the Spring Break week.

"To be able to help this homeowner, she has been through a lot, it's really great," high school junior Jennifer Peterson said.

"We definitely are giving her a new start, and I think I said it earlier, it gives me goose bumps," church volunteer Carol Merriman said. "I can't say enough about how much volunteering can help."

For many it is their first time working construction, but after meeting the homeowner, most agree it will not be their last.

"This is something they will carry with them the rest of their lives," Pastor Craig Meyers said.

"It gives you a really good feeling to be able to give to those folks that need our help the most," Steenkamp said. "These folks really, really appreciate their help."

If you would like to help by volunteering or donating money to complete this house, contact the Back Bay Mission at 228-436-6122.

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