Fenton church group assisting Hurricane victims in Florida

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JACKSONVILLE, Florida (WJRT) - (09/13/2017) - "It's an honor to be able to be put in that place where we can encourage and love and support you know," remarked Faye Jones.

Lending a helping hand.

A team from The Freedom Center church in Fenton are on the ground in Jacksonville, assisting victims of Hurricane Irma.

People are faced with the massive task of cleaning up the damage.

The group from Fenton had planned to travel to Haiti to assist a couple from their church who are running an orphanage.

Obviously, plans can change quickly when you're dealing with a major hurricane.

"As a church body we need to go where the people are," explained Children's Pastor Les Hathon on Monday."We're switching gears and going down to Florida to find anyone we possibly can find."

And find they did. The team arrived in Jacksonville late Tuesday night,
connecting with Lori Leverett, a single mom and grandmother from Fenton, whose home was flooded with about three feet of water.

"Everything had to be completely stripped, her flooring, her carpet, her wood floors," explained volunteer Faye Jones.

As they worked to clean out her home before mold could take over, their presence gave Lori space to mourn:

You could see her shoulders just kind of relax," noted volunteer Sarah Harmer, "She slowed and allowed her to take in the fact that we were unloading an entire house full of memories."

In the afternoon the team split up, sending one group to help an elderly couple repair their roof, while others removed downed trees and limbs from neighbors yards.

Throughout it all Hathon never lost his sense of humor, despite working on a rooftop in searing heat:

"Oh my gosh, the heat down here, wow, like my sweat was sweating sweat," he remarked.

Les says the victims of Hurricane Irma have a new normal:

"So their new priority isn't getting a new dishwasher, it's where's my house? Where are we going to sleep tonight? What are we going to eat," he noted.

They'll continue their work on the couple's roof on Thursday. As for what project they'll tackle next?

"I cannot wait for tomorrow," Hathon said. "I'm going to meet somebody new tomorrow, I don't know who it's going to be yet, it's awesome."

Les tells us the team plans to return to Michigan on Saturday.

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