JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. - Douglas Wilson lived in his Dry Creek Road home for more than 65 years until an August flash flood pushed it to the middle of the road.
He didn't have flood insurance or the money to rebuild. "I learned to take it day by day, step by step," says Wilson. "We've come a long way."
Construction officially started Tuesday to build Wilson a new home. It's one of dozens of homes being built by Appalachia Service Project for flood victims for free.
Volunteer Walter Crouch says, "We're building 24'x36' wood-frame homes."
The only stipulation is owners cannot mortgage or sell the property for five years.
In many cases the three bedrooms, one bath houses are larger than where the flood victims lived before. For owners like Wilson, Tuesday a dream came true. "It's overwhelming, contractors, everybody's been so good," says Wilson.
The initiative received $300,000 in state and federal housing money Tuesday.
The work will be performed by teams of volunteers from around the country while supervised by a local, licensed contractor at each site.
Organizers are setting a lofty goal for the first round of construction. "63 days, six homes to build from scratch but I think we can do it," says Walter Crouch.
"That would be overwhelming to be in by Christmas," says Wilson. "That would be one heck of a Christmas present."
Volunteers can learn more about signing-up to work through Appalachia Service Project by clicking here.
There is still a need for furniture and clothing.
Cherry Grove and New Victory churches are both collecting household items for the flood victims.