After the Storm: Community builds new home for tornado victim - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

After the Storm: Community builds new home for tornado victim

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Joan's new home Joan's new home
Joan's old home Joan's old home

OOLTEWAH, TN. (WRCB) -- A woman's house was severely damaged in last April's storms, and she's been living in ruin ever since.

Now, because of one group's generosity, she's getting a fresh start.

To be frank, what Joan Garnand was living in was not safe. Wildlife had made its way in, and mold was taking over.

Joan didn't know what to do. But her prayers were answered when the community stepped in.

Wednesday, she saw her new home for the first time.

"There's nothing good enough to say how much these people mean to me, and how thankful I am for them. I'm so thankful God put them in my life," says Joan Garnand, who fought back tears as members from the Samaritan Center and Eastwood Church gave her the keys to her new home.

Garnand's first floor was ruined by a flood and the storms of April 2011 basically finished off the rest.

"The mold and the mildew had taken over," she says. "It was like I was basically camping."

The first floor had been taken over by snakes and raccoons. Meanwhile Joan, afraid if she called FEMA they would condemn her home, moved everything she could salvage upstairs.

Craig Thomas with Eastwood Church says, "We saw the house, and it's kinda like people just can't live like this. Something had to be done."

Something was done. Eastwood Church hooked up with the Samaritan Center, and it was all hands on deck.

Sharon Smith-Hensley with the Samaritan Center says, "God can open the doors and provide us with the resources to help the person, then we need to do it."

The new edition has only one floor, so getting up and down the stairs with Joan's walker will not be a problem. Just one of the many perks Joan is celebrated Wednesday.

Joan says, "It's amazing. Everything is perfect, and if the raccoons come to visit now they have to knock on the door."

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