Hope was restored with a phone call. Months after the summer flood that devastated their home, the Caudill family was exhausted and still displaced living in a camper a few miles down the road. Michael Caudill reached out to Christian Appalachian Project’s (CAP) Home Repair program for help with materials so his family could rebuild, but when CAP called back, he was offered hands on help through teams of incoming volunteers.
For three weeks this spring, college students from across the country traveled to Eastern Kentucky for CAP’s annual WorkFest, an alternative spring break trip, to continue helping families impacted by the flood, like the Caudills, rebuild their homes. The students worked alongside CAP crew leaders to make homes safe, warm, and dry again in Knott County and Floyd County. For the Caudill home, the scope of work included the installation of new insulation, subfloor, laminate flooring, upper and lower cabinets, interior and exterior doors, bathtub, shower, vanity, toilets, trim, and rebuilding the front porch with steps.
“That phone call took such a burden off my shoulders,” Caudill said. “They are wonderful volunteers to come out. To me they were angels sent to help us. It has been such a rough time.”
The night of the flood was the family’s worst nightmare and something they had never experienced before at their home. At 3:30 a.m., while water from the nearby creek was quickly rising against their home, Caudill and his wife packed up a few belongings and their three children in their vehicles. Once the water was up to Caudill’s chest, he realized there was nothing more that could be done. The family sought safety on a nearby bank and was stranded there for 10 hours until the water receded. Their home, which stands 6 feet off the ground, took on 2 feet of water in the living spaces at the height of the flood.
“Because of the power of the water, there’s absolutely nothing you could do but sit and watch everything you’ve worked for be destroyed,” Caudill said.
Whether a disaster strikes or there is a need in the community, CAP’s programs are in it for the long haul to walk beside our participants and help them through what could be the most challenging moments of their lives. Because of the generosity of our volunteers, donors, and partners, CAP can continue building hope, transforming lives, and sharing Christ’s love through service in Appalachia.
“To the donors, to the people who are helping, and the recovery teams, we give a heartfelt thank you from the bottom of our hearts here in my family” Caudill said. “I know my community, and there was absolutely no way that we could have helped everyone without your help. We have such a close-knit community. To pick up and leave our homes, you’re not leaving neighbors or friends, you’re leaving family. It’s hard to up and leave that. We choose to overcome and just keep moving on.”