Demolitions Help Homeowners in Tennessee

January 17, 2024 • United States
Samaritan's Purse volunteers stood and prayed with "Rip" Van Winkle and his wife as our crews demolished their home that had been severely damaged by a December tornado.

Samaritan’s Purse is helping communities rebuild after the storm by first tearing down severely damaged homes.

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In tornado-hit Clarksville, Samaritan’s Purse is helping homeowners with demolitions, a service that can save them money as they start to rebuild. One Tennessee homeowner grateful to receive this work is William R. “Rip” Van Winkle, a more than 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army.

Rip rode out the tornado that tore through Clarksville buried for two hours beneath the remains of his roof and a side wall. He was grateful to survive, but his home was so damaged that it requires a total rebuild. He has no insurance, so Samaritan’s Purse saved him considerable money by tearing down the remnants of his house. During that sobering task, our staff and volunteers stood and prayed with Rip and his wife as they watched the heavy equipment slowly dismantle what had been home for 35 years.

“It hurt inside,” Rip said. “All the memories—I’ll miss it.”

Still, Rip is grateful that the money he would have had to spend on demolition can now be funneled toward reconstruction instead.

As a result of the help he received from Samaritan’s Purse, Rip said, “My faith has risen about 110 percent in believing in Christianity.”

Please pray for the community of Clarksville, which is near Fort Campbell, as they work to recover from the storm.

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U.S. Disaster Relief Samaritan's Purse mobilizes and equips thousands of volunteers to provide emergency aid to U.S. victims of wildfires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. In the aftermath of major storms, we often stay behind to rebuild houses for people with nowhere else to turn for help.

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