Washington County VA

Iowa State students return to help rebuild Dry Creek

Rebuilding Dry Creek

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. - A group of student volunteers are rolling up their sleeves and strapping on their tool belts to help rebuild a community devastated by August flood water.

This makes the second time students from Iowa State University made the trek from Ames, Iowa to Washington County, Tennessee.

A group came earlier last fall to work on Appalachia Service Project's first flood home rebuild. The experience was enough to bring them back, eager to help more lives.

Nail by nail, and piece by piece, students a thousand miles away from Iowa State University help build Judy Hyduck a new home on Dry Creek Road. Hers is still marred by flood damage.

"They are the 'workingest' people I ever seen. They come at daylight, and they work until dark," Hyduck told News 5.

During their spring break, 45 construction engineering majors put classroom skills to work, helping Appalachia Service Project get a flood ravaged community back on its feet. "Them coming down is a real shot in the arm. I mean, they're going to frame up and dry in four houses for us in a matter of about four days," said Walter Crouch, the president of Appalachia Service Project.

"It's really cool to be able to see nothing at the start and then see a finished house," said Jonathan Jensen, a student volunteer.

This house means something special to a flood survivor.

Right now, Hyduck's home sits just about a foot-and-a-half off the ground, but her new home will sit about six feet off the ground. That means she's not just getting a new house, she's getting peace of mind. "I feel real safe up there. I don't believe [any] water is going to come that high," said Hyduck.

In a matter of days, spring break will be done and the students will be gone, but they'll leave with new skills. "When I first got here, I could barely swing a hammer!" laughed Amy Salcedo, a student volunteer.

But it's what they leave behind that will leave a lasting impression. "I can't thank them enough. I wish I could pay them for every hours work they do," said Hyduck. "This is a masterpiece!" she exclaimed.

Appalachia Service Project is hoping to rebuild 29 homes by August 4, right before the first anniversary of the flood. We're told they are still in need of volunteers and donations.

If you are interesting in helping out, you can contact ASP by calling them at (423) 854-8800, or by emailing Walter Crouch at wcrouch@asphome.org.

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