Hurricane Matthew victim's home repaired after two and a half years

Published: May. 24, 2019 at 7:26 PM EDT
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It's been two and a half years since Hurricane Matthew came through Eastern Carolina and wreaked havoc and now one homeowner impacted by that storm is finally able to get back inside his house.

"it's very emotional, I'm overwhelmed with joy," said Billy Creech.

Friday was the first day in two and a half years that he was able to stay in his Vanceboro home.

"It is a blessing truly a blessing to be back in my home," he said.

In October of 2016 Hurricane Matthew hit Eastern Carolina and Creech found himself in the direct line of flood waters.

"When I got out of my home and left here water was up to my waist," said Creech.

It would be days before he was able to see just how much damage was done by the storm.

"When I walked in the floors were warped, the walls, half of the walls water had gotten into there, kitchen cabinets, countertops were all diminished, gone," said Creech.

Creech found a place to stay with a friend in Pitt County while Lutheran Services Carolinas began putting things in place to rebuild his home with the help of volunteers.

"It really was a great journey working with Mr. Billy when we received the referral again as a resource for appliances and furniture so we are delighted to be here and helping him and the smile on his face was beautiful," said Illham Thurston, a long-term recovery group liason.

While Billy Creech says all of the furniture means something special to him, he says one item means more than others-- a bed. He's been sleeping on a couch for the last two and a half years.

That was a gift from the angels, when I saw that bed and the mattress and the box spring I said thank you Lord no more sleeping on a sofa," said Creech.

Creech says working with all of the non-profit organizations that have helped him through his journey to living back in his home was life changing. He now hopes to be able to pay it forward and help others.

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