The Great Flood

By on Jan 3, 2018 in People

In October 2015, the state of South Carolina received record-breaking precipitation. More than 25 inches of rain fell across the coastal region in less than 20 hours. Additional water spilled into the devastated communities when 13 dams failed.

Homes flooded, ousting residents into the streets or crowded shelters. Businesses closed, adding to the economic strain of the struggling region. Even 74 miles of I-95, a major thoroughfare for relief and supplies, became impassible.

“Our state was devastated,” recalls Babbie Jaco, vice president of Boyd Management, a Yardi client.  “Meadowfield Apartments, a USDA 515/Section 8 property in Summerton, SC–a very poor area–had more than 40 inches of water. There was water up to the windowsills for weeks. The water just wouldn’t recede.”

The deluge of water saturated the soil and overwhelmed runoff infrastructure. To make matter worse, a ply board and other debris prevented a local storm drain from functioning. Local authorities would not discover the root of the problem until the DOT ditch had become a small lake.

As the water lingered for weeks, residents of Meadowfield Apartments could not return home. Local Boy Scouts hosted a temporary camp for the residents. Yet as the fall pressed onward, the 150 displaced residents needed a place to call home.

A Community United

Many residents of the community, including the property owners, did not have flood insurance. As the property fell further into disrepair, with repair costs estimated to be more than $1.4 million, HUD prepared to remove its subsidy. News of the displaced families spread throughout the region.

Then the volunteers arrived.

Community members provided the manpower to clear the site and prepare it for renovation. Summerton Baptist Church joined forces with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) and Boyd Management to clean up the property at no charge. Volunteers from AmeriCore and North Rock Hill Baptist Church also contributed to the efforts. More than 50 volunteers attended to the property each day for several weeks.

Volunteers removed water-logged furniture, appliances, and personal items from the homes. Then they flood cut the soggy walls and insulation to prepare for mold treatments and new materials.

“We pulled everything out. It was horrible,” recalls Jaco. “For two weeks, everything was under water. Everything that everyone had left in the middle of the night was still there.”

Volunteers gutted more than 141 tons of debris from the apartments. They reached the extent of their expertise once the apartments were clear and dry, yet there was still more work to be done before the units were fit for occupancy.

Loyal vendors came to the rescue.

Boyd Management has had the honor of working with several of the same vendors since the company began in 1985. These vendors, including HD Supply, Moen Faucets, Allgood Pest Solutions Williams Electrical GE Appliances, Evans Cabinets, AMO Plumbing, Upstate Contracting, and Stier Supply volunteered materials and workers.

Throughout the volunteers’ work at the site, Liberty Hill AME Church provided food. It served as a source of nourishment and encouragement to those toiling in the hazardous and damp conditions.

“Liberty Hill AME Church fed us when they saw what we were doing.” Jaco smiles broadly, “I mean, real food—the food your grandmother makes.”

Home for Christmas

Volunteer professionals and community members worked tirelessly for weeks to repair the property. They poured their efforts into ensuring that their neighbors could get out of the shelters and into their homes.

“We started the work on November 1 and we had everyone home before Christmas,” says Jaco proudly.

To this day, Jaco recalls the flood as a tragedy that revealed the true strength of The South: compassion.

Jaco says, “Seeing everyone come together like that–professionals, college students, church members, neighbors—people from states throughout the southeast, it was life changing. It touches your heart. You never forget something like that.”