A CLOSER LOOK: Christian nonprofit seeks volunteers/donations to help rebuild flood-ravaged homes

A Closer Look

MOFFETT, Okla. (KNWA) — The recent historic Arkansas River flood caused massive damage to homes across the small town of Moffett, but a couple of good-hearted folks are doing everything they can to help.

Curt & Mary Jo Hencye arrived in Moffett, a small Oklahoma town just outside Fort Smith, last week and found devastation.

Moffett homes were either destroyed or nearly destroyed by floodwater that rose eight feet high.

“There wasn’t a structure in Moffett that didn’t get flooded. Some have already been bulldozed and won’t get rebuilt,” Curt Hencye said.

Now the Hencyes are hard at work to help the folks whose homes are badly damaged but still standing.

“We got here pretty shortly after the water has receded,” Curt Hencye said. “We stay long term. We try to coordinate between the homeowners, local churches, local volunteers and out of town volunteers.

Curt and his wife Mary Jo are disaster relief missionaries. They created Calvary Relief, a nonprofit based in Sarasota, Fla. It’s their mission to travel to natural disaster areas and help folks rebuild. Their efforts are an extension of their Christianity.

“We aren’t funded by an particular church, individual, etc.,” the Hencyes say on their website, www.calvaryrelief.com. “It’s people like you supporting us that allow us to fulfill The Lord’s call on our lives.”

The Hencyes have rebuilt homes in natural disaster areas in states across the country. They’re now in Moffett and won’t leave until the job is done, Curt Hencye said.

“The least amount of time we’ve stayed somewhere is four months,” Hencye said.

Having volunteers to help is essential to getting the job done.

“We set up with places to stay, places to shower. We feed everybody, we do everything,” Hencye said. “Our goal is to protect the homeowner, to make sure when volunteers come in, they do things the right way.”

Volunteers help with an array of tasks, including drywall, electrical work, plumbing, painting, installation of flooring and cabinets.

So far, Hencye has only a couple of volunteers lined up, but needs more to help the Moffett community get their homes back in shape.

Donations are also needed.

Some rebuilding funds come from FEMA, and churches and other ministries donate to Calvary Relief, according to Hencye.

Hencye said he has tried to get discounted materials from major retailers such as Lowe’s and Home Depot, but with little success.

Rebuilding homes can be especially expensive because the work goes beyond the damage that flooding caused. Some homes, Hencye said, were not up to code prior to incurring damage.

“There’s a lot of issues in some of these older homes that have nothing to do with the flood that we have to fix,” he said. “If I’m going to be involved in it, I’m going to get the house up to code.”

Virginia Massey, a Moffett resident whose home sustained significant damage during the flood, told KNWA on Saturday that the Hencyes are a Godsend.

“God has placed the right people in Moffett at the right time,” Massey said.

Hencye said to find out how to volunteer or make donations for the rebuilding effort in Moffett, you can contact him by email at disasterpastor@calvaryrelief.com or by calling him at (941) 915-9560.

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