Volunteers help WWII veteran clean up after flood

POSTED: 5:41 PM Jul 24 2013   UPDATED: 11:03 PM Jul 24 2013
VET CLEANUP
KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

Residents are still cleaning up one week after major flash floods hit Kingsport.

Sitting back and watching others work is not something James Collins is used to doing, but he's grateful local church volunteers are helping him clean up after last week's flood. "It means a lot," says James Collins. "I never had any help in my life, I'm used to doing everything myself."

That's exactly what this 89-year-old had been doing. He was cleaning up after the flood left his basement filled with water. "I moved the furniture, cut the carpet and pulled it outside. All the carpet has got to be thrown out," says Collins.

Collins is a World War II survivor who lost both of his legs in the Battle of the Bulge.

However, he doesn't let being a double amputee or a sudden flash flood slow him down."I'd got it done this week. I worked every day on it," Collins joked.

The Southern Baptist Association disaster volunteers are setting up in the area, but when a team from Fall Branch heard about Collins cleaning up alone they didn't wait. "We put a team together yesterday. I came over here last night, and we showed up here at 8 o'clock [Wednesday] morning," says volunteer Gary Hood.

More Southern Baptist crews will be working in the community over the next several weeks. "Right now there are over 200 homes that have flood damage that have requested help," says Hood.

The Southern Baptist Association is currently setting up a command post in the Bloomingdale area. They plan to have it up and running by the weekend and will have more contact information for how flood victims can reach them once it's operational.