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By Erin Smith

Clarkton residents are finding hope amid the damage that occurred due to Hurricane Florence. As residents were beginning the task of cleaning out flooded homes, a team with the Florida Baptist on Mission arrived to help.

The nine-member team is staying at Western Prong Baptist Church near Clarkton, along with 175 other Baptists on Mission. This week, the team has been helping residents on Elmhurst Street in Clarkton. The team has been assisting residents with tearing flooring, walls, removing furniture, duct work, and treating the home with a fungicide to kill any mold or mildew that has been growing.

Rev. David Foster, Director of Missions for the Bladen Baptist Association, said work teams with Baptists on Mission have been arriving from all over North Carolina and other states and working diligently throughout Bladen County since the storm hit.

“We’ve got several teams planning to come next week and the week after,” said Foster.

He said thus far, he is aware of 60 homes in Bladen County where the Baptist work teams have been busy doing chainsaw work, debris removal, tear outs, mud outs and tarp work. The work teams have been to Clarkton, Bladenboro, White  Oak, Elizabethtown, Lisbon and Kelly.

Rev. Foster said a Disaster Recovery Center has been established for Bladen County residents in the Elizabethtown Baptist Church Christian Activities Center. Residents who are needing assistance with debris removal, tear outs, mud outs, or chainsaw work are encouraged to call 910-862-4538 or go by the church located at 1800 West Broad Street, Elizabethtown, to put in your work request.

Rev. Foster said once your work request is submitted, an assessor will come and make a list fo the needs and then a work team will be assigned.

Robin Nelson, with Florida Baptist Disaster Relief, and her team were assigned to assist with tear outs on Elmhurst Street in Clarkton which suffered flooding during Hurricane Florence.

Nelson said of her team’s task, “We are trying to help the people of the community.”

Scott Williamson, a member of the team, said the home of Bonnie McLaurin was the third house where they have performed work this week.

McLaurin was seated near her car porch, which was full of her belongings which were salvaged and covered with a tarp.

“I’ve lost everything. My car, my house, everything,” said McLaurin.

As she watched the team work on her house, she said, “God just sent these people. I appreciate them so much.”

As the crew worked, Nelson said “Basically we are just the hands and feet of Jesus, and trying to help the people.”

Other crews are also coming in to replace the ones working throughout Bladen, and Columbus counties this week. According to Nelson, there are many states represented who are doing work throughout all the counties that were touched by Hurricane Florence. All the crews are made up of volunteers.

Nelson said the primary purpose is to try to make the situation better, and get the homes ready to be repaired.

Another Elmhurst Street resident, Sandra Guyton, said she appreciates the volunteers who have helped her to clean her home, and tear out walls and duct work in preparation for repairs.

Guyton picked up a Bible, which was signed by the members of the work team and given to her. As she leafed through the pages and read the messages of support contained upon them, she teared up.

“The need is great. We have teams who are willing to help,” said Rev. Foster.

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