Homeowners Richard and Richard, Jr. in their restored home
Is it really over?
We just wrapped up day three of Rebuilding Atlantic City yesterday, and I’m still in disbelief that so much has been accomplished in just three days. While each home started at different points – without a floor, without walls, without insulation – great progress was made in each one. More importantly, however, an impact was made both for the families we worked with and within ourselves.
Today, my team (Team Elizabeth!) met our homeowner for the first time, and within seconds, we knew all of our sore muscles, sweat and frustration was more than worth the sacrifice. Elizabeth shared with us her story: she has lived in her same home since 1967, and when the storm hit, she evacuated with her three cats. When she returned, little but a structure was left.
With insurance funds, Elizabeth hired a contractor to help rebuild her home, but just after he started work, he left town, leaving her with a nearly demolished home and little savings. Her son was able to begin the rebuilding process, and we continued his work throughout the past three days. Today, when Elizabeth visited, her deep gratitude and hope brought us all to tears. “You’ve given me hope for mankind and our future,” she told us. In seeing her home for the first time, Elizabeth’s face lit up as she shared her dreams for a pale yellow living room and a small cat door out back. While she kept expressing a desire to do more to thank us, we all felt so grateful to have the opportunity to help someone who had lost so much and to give this woman hope for a brighter future.
While all of the families had different backgrounds and stories, they all showed great resilience and instilled in each of us a deeper appreciation for our own homes and families. As we return to the office, I know each of us will feel more empowered to find ways to give back and support our own communities.
As always, I’ve included a few snapshots of today below, and for more images and stories from Rebuilding Atlantic City, follow us on Twitter, Instagram (#ourimpact on both!) and Facebook. Stay tuned for a recap of the rebuild next week!
Team Elizabeth, with Elizabeth in Center