Volunteers rehabilitate Winston County homes after major flooding

WINSTON COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Winston Strong began to take its recovery efforts outside of Winston County after tornadoes ripped through other areas of Mississippi in 2023.

Then, Winston County found itself facing another natural disaster: flooding.

Steve Jones with Winston Strong says they went out and evaluated homes that were in need.

“I’m going to tell you now, working with disasters, you’ve got the three ‘P’s’ – prayers, patience, and persistence,” Jones said. “This is not a sprint, this is a marathon. This flood happened in July and we just now were able to get all the pieces to fall together and get it done.”

Larry Miller is the Mennonite Disaster relief coordinator.

“Homes were flooded like in the level of water came up and the insulation was saturated, the paneling was deteriorating, mold was beginning to go, it had to be ripped out,” Miller.

Miller says around 80 Mennonite volunteers from all over the United States came to Louisville to help rehabilitate homes.

Through donations from various organizations, they had enough to do around 13 homes.

Even when the funding ran out, they stayed on to complete 17 more.

Peggy Hornesburger’s home was damaged by both the 2014 tornado and last year’s flood.

“It was scary,” Hornesburger said. “But I’m so thankful to be here to be a testimony to tell. Cause the story could have been different, you know. I’m just so thankful that the Lord allowed the Mennonites, Winston Strong, and MEMA to come in and do the work for us.”

Jean Harper is a member of Winston Strong and a Winston County native. She knows what her neighbors can do when they pull together.

“It’s just a blessing to be a part of something good,” Harper said. “If we can get people to work together, stay together, no complaining, we can have a blessing, and it was a blessing that we could join in as a team.”

Stacy Parvin has been serving Winston County since the 2014 disaster.

She said this type of recovery is not easy or quick, and it takes a community effort.

“The Mayor, Will Hill, pitched in to provide water for everyone as well as making sure trash pickup could happen,” Parvin said. “Businesses pitched in to make sure that there were exciting things like port-a-potties that are very needed when you’re doing recovery work.

Parvin said their mission is to pay it forward, and they will continue to do that by helping surrounding communities recover from the March 2023 tornadoes.

Miller said the volunteers served about 5,000 hours.

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