The volunteers tore out flood-soaked walls and cabinets to prevent black mold from settling in. They helped sort through Parker's belongings, many of which couldn't be saved. Within a day or two, the house will be gutted and ready for rebuilding.
"I believe that God is taking care of me," Parker said Saturday as she watched the volunteers work. "He's been very gracious to me by sending people to help me. I prayed the night before these people walked in, 'Help me God, because I can't do this,' and he sent me these people to help me."
Baptists on Mission -- also known as the N.C. Baptist Men, although plenty of women volunteer -- has been one of the most active disaster relief groups in the days since Hurricane Matthew hit
"We'll be here as long as we're needed," said
Baptists on Mission and their volunteers in yellow T-shirts have been a common sight at natural disaster scenes across
"It's going to be hard to meet the needs," said
"We just have a desire to help our fellow brothers and sisters," he said. "That's what God calls us to do. We're actually the ones who get the biggest blessing from this."
Not all of the volunteers out Saturday were veterans of the Baptist group. Staff Sgt.
"I'm glad I did," he said. "I knew that they needed help."
Homeowners like Parker still have a long way to go before they can return home. Once the houses are gutted, volunteer crews will use a spray to kill any remaining mold. Rebuilding typically doesn't start until the homeowners receive insurance payments or federal or state aid to cover their costs. Baptists on Mission has volunteers with experience in drywall, heating and air conditioning and plumbing to help with the final phase of recovery.
By then, the storm has left the headlines and it can be harder to get enough volunteers, Threatt said. "Everyone comes out right after a disaster," he said. "By the time you get to the rebuild, a lot of people forget."
Parker said the initial shock of the flood was "devastating" as she'd thought her home 100 feet or so above the creek would be safe. She's now staying with a friend and hopes she can move home soon. But she said more volunteers are needed in hard-hit areas like
"Muscle is what's needed mostly right now," she said. "We need strong young men to pull appliances out of houses. We need strong young men that know construction work ... to give us direction on what we're supposed to do."
Parker says she'll be involved in the effort once she clears out her own home, and she's particularly worried about her next-door neighbor, who lost thousands of dollars in tools he needs for work.
"When my house starts drying out, I'm going to my neighbor's house to help them," she said.
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