A pile of debris still sits outside of a house in Rosewood six months after Hurricane Matthew (Source: Amy Lipman)
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - After Hurricane Matthew blew through and the power eventually came back on, many people’s lives started returning to normal.
However, those who experienced historic flooding are still working to get back to that.
“When you've got that devastation, that water rolling through them doors, there's no way to stop it,” Chad Davis said. “There's nothing you can do.”
Davis’ house in Bridge Creek in Socastee was one of many to flood from the Intracoastal Waterway.
For five months following the flood, he dedicated 12 hours every day to putting his house back together.
“Life's all about goals and I accomplished one,” he said. “It wasn't on my bucket list to build a house, but we did it anyway.”
Davis and his wife did all of the repairs besides fixing the roof.
“I've learned through the years how to do stuff,” Davis said. “Thank God for that. I had the skills to do it myself. Saved a lot of money.”
They were able to redo the house mostly with funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“When you do something yourself, it just means a lot more than if you just bought it and moved in,” Davis said. “It's got us. It's got our touch on it. This is the way we wanted it. So it all worked out for the best.”
Davis is now helping out his neighbor, Vili Schwenke.
“If you can say there's a good thing to it, that would be the good that came out of the bad. I think it brought everybody together,” Davis said. “Everybody helping. Everybody coming together.”
Schwenke has been balancing working as a Conway police officer and fixing his flood-damaged home.
“Go to work. Come back. Do here. Go to work,” Schwenke said.
While the backyard isn’t quite finished yet, the inside of the house is almost done. He was able to do some of the work himself, like the insulation. Contractors also helped, as well as a Small Business Administration loan.
“Those are the guys who really step up and help us a lot,” Schwenke said. “That’s how we can afford all of this. Otherwise, we have to find the money somewhere.”
Schwenke said he knew the process would be slow-going.
“I was already told by some of my friends who had been in this situation before,” he said. “They said, ‘Hey, it’s going to take you a long time before you go back to normal, so take your time. Don’t rush.’”
On Monday, piles of debris were still in yards in the Rosewood community in Socastee.
Melissa Krupa said homes in the neighborhood are at various states of renovation. She added her own house is not where she thought it would be at this point. Some of the walls aren’t finished and certain rooms still have concrete as the floors.
Krupa said she spent all of her FEMA money with one worker who just put in walls in her bedroom.
She said it’s been hard for her to find quality workers.
“Then I’m out of money, so it’s been a real struggle to get things done the right way and to make my house what it used to be,” she said.
The Cortes family just moved into their home in Rosewood last week. They hired a restoration company to handle the majority of the renovations. That work took months.
Now, they’re left with unpacking and completing a few minor projects.
Jazmin Cortes said she and her husband hopped around to different friends’ houses for a few weeks following the flooding, then they stayed in a hotel for a while.
“Many years, people flooded here and I never really took it as seriously as I should have. I didn’t realize what they were going through,” Cortes said. “It was, I don’t know, words don’t even come because it was so hard.”
Cortes said she ended up getting sick with the intestinal disease C. diff after salvaging things from her house when the water receded. She said that sent her to the hospital.