On June 23, 2016, a series of storms raged through West Virginia. In just a few hours, the storm poured out 10 inches of water, resulting in flash flooding that caused millions in damage and took 23 lives. In this mountainous state, few were prepared for such an event. Only 2% of the population had flood insurance. The result was a wave of devastation and hundreds of people’s homes and lives destroyed. Many had nowhere near the resources or support to rebuild. One of those devastated families was the Swineys, in Charleston, West Virginia.

Pastor Charles Swiney and his wife Rose share their home with three generations of family—their son and daughter-in-law, and their four grandchildren (eight of them in all). When the flood hit, the family tried desperately to save their household items, even using a boat to bring things from their quickly-soaking house to dry land. Before long, the house was flooded with eight feet of water.

Thanks in part to the support of partners like you, Forward Edge was able to send a Phase II disaster response team in September. Bob Johnson, our U.S. Disaster Response Field Coordinator, led a team from Ohio down to West Virginia with a mission: restore homes like that of Pastor Swiney.

The team from Ohio spent seven days in West Virginia—five of them at Pastor Swiney’s house. As you can imagine, eight feet of water swept away many essentials and left much work to do in its wake. The team spent their days alongside the Swiney family, replacing insulation, drywall, and building frames for new windows.

The highlight of the renovation came in the form of the two youngest granddaughters (ages 8 and 10). The two came home from school one day to find that for the first time in months, their bedrooms had walls. The pair ran outside to fetch their grandparents. Grabbing their grandparents’ hands, the girls exclaimed “Come in the house to see this! We have walls again!” Seeing the little girls’ excitement moved the men on the team to tears.

The team also had a chance to assist a retired couple who suffered four feet of flooding and significant damage to their home. They tore out damaged drywall and re-framed windows. Recently, we received a note from this couple here at the Forward Edge Headquarters. Here’s what they said: “Debbie and I would like to thank all the volunteers that worked on our house this fall. We would not be in a position to move back into our house in 2017 if it was not for your organization.”

The impact you have as a supporter on real people’s lives is significant. By supporting Forward Edge financially, or in prayer, you make great things possible. You mobilize volunteers, send supplies, and ensure that we can bless victims of disaster in tangible ways.

Thanks to you, we mobilized 677 volunteers in 2016, and helped more than 5,000 people!

By partnering with God in His work, we get to fulfill our purpose, and at the same time clear obstacles for those in need to discover theirs. Thank you!