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Hope and Home Restored for Hurricane Victims

Field Report by Lauryn Vickers

FLORIDA – Retired Vietnam veteran Billy Locke and his wife, Martha, never thought they would see their home in ruins. But when Hurricane Michael hit the Gulf Coast of Florida, the unimaginable suddenly became a reality.

As Hurricane Michael made landfall, elderly Billy and Martha hunkered down across the street with their neighbors. They watched through the windows in horror as tree after tree fell all around their home. “Sometimes you couldn’t see across the street because of how hard the rain was,” Billy explained.


Once the storm had finally passed, the picture was heartbreaking. Their home sat battered, missing windows and part of the roof. Waterlogged walls quickly began growing mold.

When Billy and Martha took their first steps back into their home, a sense of devastation overwhelmed them. The elderly couple suddenly realized the insurmountable amount of work it would take to recover the home they once cherished. All hope seemed lost.

With help from friends, they managed to get their roof repaired, but the house beneath it began to slowly crumble from water damage. Mold spread, and pests began to invade, creating an unhealthy and unsafe living environment for the elderly couple.

Operation Blessing first met Billy and Martha shortly after the storm, when we rushed to meet their immediate needs. Like most residents in the area, Billy and Martha needed hot meals, clean water, cleaning supplies, and warm showers.

But we also follow up on storm victims long after the disaster passes. When we discovered that Billy and Martha still desperately needed help with their home, your love reached out to them. And because of you, their wildest dream suddenly became a reality.

A Home Restored For Hurricane Victims In Florida

hurricane michael relief for damaged home

Partnering with The Home Depot Foundation and other generous organizations that provided supplies, Operation Blessing supporters helped make a miracle for Billy and Martha. During the weeks that we worked on their house, the couple stayed in an Operation Blessing trailer often used as a mobile command center for our disaster relief team. Meanwhile, helpers gutted the Locke home down to the bare bones. And then your love began to rebuild this home from the ground up.

The workers installed new ceilings, replaced drywall, and put in new appliances. They laid new floors to make way for brand new furniture, replacing the pieces ruined the hurricane. The Locke family home was completely restored, all thanks to friends like you!

home fixed for hurricane victims

“I don’t have words to express it,” Billy said. “Thank you is not enough.”

Thank you for your heart to see a family in ruins rise from the ashes. A home restored for hurricane victims Billy and Martha shows how your love and kindness can make a difference after a destructive storm like Michael.

hurricane michael recovery years later

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