After a tornado tore through Kenly in Johnston County on Nov. 15, Baptist men and women cleaned up debris, cut down and removed trees and repaired houses for six days.
They didn’t stop there.
Baptist Men was one of three organizations to commit to rebuilding efforts. Three families needed help.
The Baptist Men in the Johnston Baptist Association agreed to help Alan and Christina Hooks and their family.
When the members considered how best to help the family recover, they didn’t have to look far.
A shell of a house sat behind the remains of the Hooks’ doublewide mobile home, which was badly damaged by the storm. The house was started by Alan Hooks’ father, but had sat empty since he died in November 1999.
The outside walls and roof were on but little was done inside.
“We didn’t have enough money to finish it,” Christina Hooks said.
Scott Daughtry, who coordinated the rebuilding effort, said the house had deteriorated significantly and the roof leaked.
“We realized we had a foundation we could build on,” Daughtry said. “It worked out great having that start.”
The house was redesigned to change it from having two bedrooms to three because the Hooks have three daughters, who are 11, 7 and 3. The oldest has her own room in the new house.
“It’s still plenty big,” Christina Hooks said.
The Hooks got a family Bible and the keys to the house at a dedication ceremony on March 1.
“This house is wonderful,” she said. “We love it.”
The house looks like a new house, Hooks said.
“You can’t even look and tell that this house sat here for 10 years,” she said.
The mobile home the Hooks’ had lived in was twisted by the tornado, making it uninhabitable.
“We didn’t have insurance because at the time we couldn’t afford it,” she said.
“Who would expect a tornado to come through Kenly in the middle of November?”
Hooks said the family was sleeping when the tornado hit at about 3 a.m. When they were awakened by the storm, they initially thought someone was trying to get in. Alan Hooks opened the door to look outside.
“The door flew out of his hand,” Christina Hooks said.
A piece of wood blew through a window showering the youngest girl’s bed with glass. Fortunately, she wasn’t there.
“I’m just glad that our little one slept with us at the time,” Christina Hooks said. “I used to complain that she wouldn’t sleep in her own room.”
Daughtry said volunteers started working on the new house on Dec. 27.
Kelton Hinton, the Johnston’s association’s associational missionary, organized the association’s churches into eight groups with a work rotation for each group.
Volunteers from 31 association churches, five other Baptist churches, six Free Will Baptist churches and a group of student volunteers from the University of North Carolina worked on the house.
“I never expected so many volunteers,” Christina Hooks said.
Daughtry said the house cost about $30,000, with $22,000 coming from the Hooks family’s Emergency
Management grant and the rest from donations to the association for tornado relief efforts.
Thirteen companies and organizations provided labor, materials, discounts and donations.
The heating and air conditioning system, furniture and appliances were donated.
Daughtry said on some days as many as 100 people would be working on the house.
“I told my wife, ‘If the Lord keeps sending volunteers out here, we’re going to have to take turns driving nails,’” he said.
Daughtry said when plumbing was needed, a plumber was among the volunteers. When tile work was needed, someone proficient in that area was there.
“Every time I needed someone, the Lord sent them,” Daughtry said.