‘The house that God built’

Published 10:56 pm Thursday, October 18, 2012

Flora Nixon shows a bracelet with an inscribed blessing that she received as part of her new home blessing service. (WDN Photo/Mona Moore)

AURORA — Flora Nixon closed a difficult chapter in her life with a blessing.
Hurricane Irene destroyed Nixon’s home. This week, the United Methodist Church Disaster Response Committee turned over the keys to her new home during a blessing service.
“The Lord blessed me. I have laughter. I have joy. I have friends, children and the rest of my family,” Nixon said after the service. “It feels like home. It feels just like I belong.”
Nixon’s Bay City Road home was the second house that had to be completely replaced after the hurricane. It is the first one completed, said Cliff Harvell, disaster response superintendent.
“This is the joy of what we do, finishing the project and getting the families into a home,” he said. “Our celebration today was to give God the glory for how it came together.”
The home was built by volunteers and paid for by federal grants and donations.
Nixon’s daughter, Angela Wright, was amazed that so many people came together to rebuild her mother’s home.
“It’s awesome to just know that people from so many places across the country have come here and given their time, their love to help somebody else,” Wright said. “And they came with smiles on their faces, and love in their hearts to be there for her.”
Wright said the hardest part of the last year has been watching her mom go through a depression brought on by losing her home.
“And she was restored with a gift greater than what she had. And that was a blessing,” Wright said.
The Salvation Army donated three rooms of furniture to Nixon. At the service, she received two Bibles and a blanket. A wooden cross, another gift meant as a reminder of new beginnings, now hangs next to her front door.
Nixon said she enjoyed the blessing service because it gave her a chance to see some of the people who had a hand in building the home.
When she looks around, Nixon said she sees all of the hands that built her home. She calls them the “hands of the Lord” and her home the “house that God built.”
“They’ve done an amazing job for it to be all volunteer work. I couldn’t have had it better if I’d hired a licensed contractor to do it all,” Nixon said.
Tom Gates was the disaster recovery construction coordinator on the project. During the service, he recalled his first walkthrough of Nixon’s damaged home. He knew it could not be saved and called the work volunteers did since the start of the project last summer a miracle.
Harvell echoed his remarks.
“You’ve heard of ‘Miracle on 34th Street.’ This was ‘Miracle on Bay City Road,’” Harvell said.
Nixon’s home marks the 200th rebuild completed by Disaster Response Committee volunteers since Hurricane Irene. The projects were completed with about 4,500 volunteers who spent more than 85,000 volunteer hours in the eastern North Carolina counties most affected by the hurricane.