When Dana Carter, a Nashville resident, heard her nephew’s house had been affected by devastating floods in Louisiana, she filled her car with cleaning supplies, bottled water and a little hope. Carter wasn’t sure exactly how she was going to help, but she knew she had to do something.
“My nephew works as a security guard at a local hospital, and he needed to keep working, which meant he had no time to deal with the extensive flood damage to his house,” Carter said. “He had saved and planned for this home for 10 years, and I couldn’t let him lose it in the course of just a few days.”
When she arrived at his home in Baton Rouge, Carter realized her cleaning supplies were no match for the job ahead. “It never occurred to me to bring any tools,” she said. “What needed to be done was far beyond anything I knew how to do.”
Carter buckled down and did what she could the first day, but knew that all the walls needed to be torn down before mold became an issue. On the second day, she arrived and saw a Lowe’s truck across the street, where local volunteers had been helping flood victims.
“Before I had even finished sharing my dilemma, they asked me to point them in the direction of the house and they were already walking toward it.”— Dana Carter, aunt of Louisiana flood victim
“I approached the group just to ask their advice on how to even start repairing the damage,” Carter said. “Before I had even finished sharing my dilemma, they asked me to point them in the direction of the house and they were already walking toward it.”
More than 40 Lowe’s volunteers from area stores were on site with the First Response Team of America, one of Lowe’s national disaster relief partners, helping families salvage belongings and save their homes. They were working on two homes that had been designated as the day’s projects, but that didn’t stop them from helping when a distraught aunt armed with only cleaning supplies approached them.
“We could tell Ms. Carter was overwhelmed and needed some help immediately,” said Marcy Anthony, the Houma, Louisiana store manager who was heading up the Lowe’s Heroes project that day. “I asked a few in our group to see what they could do.”
The group headed into the house and assessed the damage quickly. “The problem you have with flooding this extensive is that mold can quickly overtake the house,” Anthony said. “If you don’t get the sheetrock and insulation out within the first few days, the mold can eventually spread to the wood studs and throughout the house, and it becomes impossible to remove.” The group of five women used sledge hammers and quickly knocked holes in walls to allow air to circulate and prevent any further mold growth. They also showed Carter the proper way to tear out the wallboard so she could finish the job.
“When she asked us for help, there was absolutely no hesitation; we were ready to go,” said Courtney Koldys, a volunteer from the Houma store. “We are Lowe’s associates and Louisiana strong. We come together as a family to help no matter who you are.”
Judy Hebert, manager of outside lawn and garden at the Houma store, had experienced the destruction of floods firsthand and wanted to help. “I knew what they were going through,” she said. “It was such a small gesture, but I’m glad that we could be there to help when she needed us.”
Carter was emotional when sharing how meaningful the “small gesture” was to her family.
“Without a doubt, they saved more than my nephew’s home; they helped save everything he had worked so hard for all those years,” she said. “They were truly our angels that day.”