United Way and the Midlands Flood Recovery Group are very proud of all of the people whose homes we’ve been able to repair after last October’s devastating floods. But there is much work left to be done. Over 1200 families are still waiting for assistance—families like the Pempletons.
Mr. Pempleton is a retired research librarian who worked at Benedict College for 27 years. Mrs. Pempleton is a former nurse and currently works part-time as a home helper. For nearly 25 years, the Pempleton have shared their home together.
The night of the storm, the Pempletons did not feel threatened, but as the rain continued, the severity of the situation became apparent. “The streets looked like rivers,” they recalled.
By the end of the storm, their basement was submerged by the flood waters, causing severe mold and a destabilizing their foundation.
The financial burden of trying to upkeep and rebuild their home proved impossible for the family to shoulder alone. While they filed for and received emergency funds from FEMA, it was not enough money to do the necessary repairs.
So, despite the dangers posed to their health, the couple and their grandchildren have been unable to leave their mold-ridden home. While living in these conditions, Mrs. Pempleton’s granddaughter has gotten sick, an illness which the family believes is directly caused by their living conditions.
To Mr. Pempleton, his home was a place to set roots. “Growing up,” he said, “I always wanted to own a house.” To Mrs. Pempleton, her home means the beginning of her life in Columbia. When they looked for houses, she said, “I fell in love with the house. I’m still in love with it.”
The Pempleton’s, like so many other families, are still struggling with the effects of last October’s flood. But together, we can work to ensure all of the families whose homes were damaged in the flood receive the assistance they need.