CLARKSTOWN - As the year anniversary of the devastation from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee approaches, not everyone is safely back home.
A group of 13 volunteers from western Pennsylvania arrived Monday to continue work started by other volunteers on Fannie Schyler's house, which had been damaged from the flood. The group, gathered from six churches in the Mars area, drove four hours to help.
"I just feel truly blessed," Schyler said. "These people have reached out. I'm speechless on it."
Volunteers involved with United Churches Disaster Recovery program work on a house located on Route 442, 2 miles east of Clarkstown. The owners of the home were displaced about a year ago when Muncy Creek overflowed its banks and since then the house has stood empty. Volunteers this week have been installing all new wiring, insulation, drywall, and working on the roof. Tom Gray, of Renfrew, measures out a hole for an electrical box on a piece of drywall.
Among the crew members were an electrician and a shop class teacher. Their skills helped them prepare others to work on the house for the week. The crew finished Friday.
The Rev. Peter deVries, pastor of the Old Union Presbyterian Church, heard about the flooding in Lycoming County because a parishioner originally from Williamsport told congregants about the damages it caused.
This mission trip marks the third for the church - and the closest, since previous travels included Montana and Missouri.
"(We help) 'cause we love God and God loves everyone and there's a need and how can you not help when there's a need?" deVries said.
Many people forget about flood recovery once the headlines stop and the majority of houses have been restored, he said.
The Longterm Disaster Recovery works with people whose lives have not been put back together, said Gwen Bernstine, executive director of the United Churches of Lycoming County.
"We get them able to carry on with life and recover from the disaster," Bernstine said.
There are about 30 families in the county who still have not completely recovered yet that the recovery team is working to help. There are more families who get help from others or are working on their own to fix or sell their houses.
One of the experts among the volunteers was the Rev. Bob Goossen, pastor of Crestview Community Church, Callery. Before becoming a pastor, he taught shop class and industrial arts carpentry.
He has helped by organizing the work, putting up drywall and anything else he has needed to since he arrived.
"You've got to have a few people who have an idea what to do, just to show (the volunteers)," Goossen said.
It does not take long to teach others how to help, especially if someone is nearby to answer any questions.
He started doing missionary work in Nebraska as a teenager, where he would clean up following tornadoes.
"You help your neighbor," Goossen said.
Not all of the volunteers drove for hours to help. Bob Bauder, of Williamsport, came as part of Volunteers in Mission.
He worked for PPL Electric for more than 30 years and picked up the skills necessary to rebuild houses on the side. He started volunteering six years ago.
He helped when the Loyalsock Creek flooded.
"That was really necessary," he said.
Bauder also used the opportunity working with volunteers to show them how to help.
"You're passing on skills," he said. "Maybe not to the full extent. Everybody's got a part in this."
More volunteers always are needed.
"It takes a lot of hours to restore a house like this," he said.
For more information about helping someone still in need in Lycoming County, call the Longterm Disaster Recovery at 322-7468.