“It’s day to day”: 2018 comes to a close, Florence recovery nowhere near over

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Residents in the Stoney Creek neighborhood are still in the beginning stages of Florence recovery. (Photo: Kylie Jones/WWAY)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — As we look back on the year, the last few months of 2018 have been unimaginably difficult for so many across the Cape Fear.

The Stoney Creek neighborhood in Brunswick County was one of the areas hit the hardest by Hurricane Florence.

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“I need whatever help I can get, from whoever I can get it from,” said resident Tom Meyer, who had to gut his home. “I have $120,000 worth of damage to the house. I have $24,000 to fix it with.”

That was all Tom Meyer says he got from FEMA. It is a fraction of what he needs to put his home back together. Months after Florence, people are still at ground zero.

“It’s day to day. It’s day to day. When I stop to think about it, it hurts. I put up my Christmas decorations and stuff. Just trying to find some normalcy to what’s going on. But there just isn’t any yet,” said Meyer.

As the year comes to a close, the wounds are still wide open. Meyer will never forget the day his life turned upside down.

“Surely not the adventure I thought we were going on. We were going to watch the storm come through. We watched it alright,” said Meyer. “That’s the window they got us out of Saturday morning. That’s the water line. It totally covered the windows and the front door of the house. We were trapped upstairs. There was no way out.”

Seven feet of water engulfed Meyer’s neighborhood. Meyer is one of many now in a camper, looking right into the home they lost.

With a gutted house, Meyer is left to fix everything with his own two hands.

“I’ll be able to put the sheet rock and stuff back up in my house, but all the windows need to be changed. The doors all need to be changed. That’s thousands and thousands of dollars and I just don’t have it,” said Meyer.

For many like Meyer, the return to normal still far out of reach.

“It took me weeks and weeks and weeks of just cleaning a scrubbing to get this house just so you can walk into it,” said Meyer.

It will be a start to the new year unlike any year before for Meyer and the families of Stoney Creek.

Meyer says he has also filled out an application for the STEP program and is waiting to hear back. He says he is so grateful for some of the donations he has gotten.