Neville welcomed home after Harvey

Published 8:30 am Saturday, May 18, 2019

By Bayleigh Swanton

The Orange Leader


Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017 leaving many people in the Orange community with gutted homes and broken hearts. But through all the heartbreak the community came together to rebuild bigger and better to showing that Harvey could not keep them down.

Orange resident of 40 years, Gloria Neville, lost her home during Harvey and was forced to relocate to Louisiana after her loss.

Through the help from the community and the organizations Nehemiah’s Vision, Orange County Disaster Rebuild, United Way of Orange County, Salvation Army, Red Cross, and The Catholic Charities, on Friday, Neville was able to open the door to her newly completed home.

“I had such a shattering experience seeing all of the disaster,” Neville said. “So many times I would leave and think, where would I go now, how will I go forward. It was just too devastating to come back to. After working with [Nehemiah’s Vision] I met so many people that were instrumental in my life. I just wish my neighbors could experience what I have. Disaster, Distress and all torn to pieces, but this group put me back.”

“My neighbors were always available and we’re here for every call.”

Neville was able to receive some help from the government for the loss of her home but fell victim to fraud. She said after being a fraud victim it took some time to keep going because she felt embarrassment hanging over her head. But the people within the organizations reminded her to share and keep going.

“A couple of times I met with Red Cross and I was introduced to [Nehemiah’s Vision],” Neville said. They assured me there was hope. I was just torn to pieces, and they just made me whole again. I want to make someone else feel like I feel. It is so wonderful and I am so appreciative.”

After the devastating storm the board of directors, consisting of all the organizations that came together to complete this project, came together to get started on rebuilding the community as a whole. Nehemiah’s Vision Executive Director, Julia Reid said that seeing a home come together after a storm is a total sense of satisfaction.

Bayleigh Swanton/The Orange Leader
Julia Reid, Executive Director of Nehemiah’s Vision welcomes Gloria Neville to her new home.

“I love it,” Reid said. “I love seeing the smile on [Neville’s] face. I’m proud of the work that our volunteers have done. I’m proud of the work that my staff does, and I’m proud of all the work all these organizations do. It just brings a lot of joy to your heart.”

The completion of the home took just under 2,000 hours total. There were seven volunteer teams with over 47 volunteers from the Orange community, and other states such as New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

“It takes all of us,” Reid said. “It takes this whole community to make each and every member of this community whole again.”

The organizations that contributed to the completion of the home, furnished the inside, supplied gift cards to help pay for things such as sheets and towels, and gave their time, hard work and love to give Neville a new place to come home.

Some organizations also donated cleaning supplies and food goods to help Neville settle into her new home.

The Red Cross contributed to the project by providing Nehemiah’s Vision with a generous donation to help pay for the construction coordinators and help provide overall construction to the home. The team repaired the main sheetrock in the house, the trim work, paint, electrical and plumbing, flooring and all of the cabinets and hardware in the kitchens and bathrooms.

“This is a great example of a neighborhood watch,” Scott Newell, construction coordinator with Nehemiah’s Vision said. “There were so many people that watched and came over and helped do little things here and there. Every time we were here, there was always someone coming in and wanting to do something.”

Nehemiah’s Vision has completed repairs on 88 homes since Harvey and currently have 14 more under the construction.

Throughout the application process for the home repairs, the organization has priority levels like the elderly, disabled, and single parents and once they are put through the priority system the organization then tries to get to everyone in need as soon as possible.

Bayleigh Swanton/The Orange Leader Michelle Tubberville from Orange County Disaster Rebuild gives Gloria Nevilles a house warming gift.

Throughout this whole process, Neville has never been alone. Her brother, Spurgeon William Jr. has been with her every step of the way offering help in any way possible. William Jr. was proud to see the community come together to rebuild Neville’s home.

“I thank God for this community acting like a village,” Williams Jr. said.

Neville’s 107-year-old mother, Ceola Marburgh, will also be joining her in her new home. Neville is looking forward to sharing and opening up her new home to others to show and share her story.

‘My whole house would be my favorite part,” Neville said. “Because I want everyone to see and be a part of it. My mom always said things are going to happen. You have to be patient. If a string is in a knot, patience is going to untie it. She told me this over and over throughout the time I was with her and look what patience has brought me.”

Thankful for her new home and for all the people who contributed to it, Neville is ready to help others in the community feel the way she does.

“There is something about what [the organizations] do that makes me want to do it,” Neville said. “I can’t hold the office that you do, but I want to be a part of it. These are things you read about in books. I never thought I would be the character and it is awesome.”