Creative partnership with school brings a new home to flood survivors


This is the fifth in a series of articles as part of the Bishop’s Appeal for Disaster Recovery for ongoing work needed for survivors of the June 2016 West Virginia flooding. Visit to learn more about how you can participate in our continuing efforts.

By Buck Edwards
WVUMC Disaster Recovery
Construction Superintendent

In the fall of 2016, the West Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church was beginning to implement its disaster recovery ministry for the 12 West Virginia counties affected by the 2016 storms and flood disaster. As we prepared for Volunteers in Mission (VIM) teams to start arriving to help us with the work of remodeling and building new homes for survivors of the flood, we realized that we needed to look at multiple options to help our clients have safe, sanitary and secure dwellings. We knew we could not meet the demand by doing all the work ourselves.

It was brought to our attention that students at the Fred Eberle Career and Technical Center in Buckhannon build a new modular house each school year and sell it at auction. We considered that it would be a benefit to the school and our disaster team if we would purchase the product of the career center’s work for a client family in Clendenin.

In May of 2017, JF Lacaria presented a check to the school for the purchase of a modern 1,200-square-foot, 3-bedroom home.

Before we could move the home to its location, much work had to be done. The old, flood damaged home had to be demolished by the National Guard, and surveys were required by FEMA and county officials to ensure the new home would be out of the flood plain. This process took more than a year before we could start building the foundation to sufficient height to satisfy flood management regulations.

With much persistence by the recovery team, the home was finally transported from Buckhannon to Clendenin and set on the foundation in November of 2017. Volunteers then completed the electrical and plumbing systems along with interior finish details. A house blessing was held during late winter of 2018, and the family of 5 moved into the home.

This project could not have been possible without UMCOR, the WV Annual Conference, and our other partners who provided the funding to purchase the home and pay the contractors who did the specialty work.

View stories about ongoing recovery and how you can participate at this link.