HOWARD — The generosity of Knox County residents has once again shown through in a big way. Numerous incidences of selfless volunteerism have helped to restore the Howard home of Ruth Spittle which sustained extensive damage from the June 29 windstorm that roared through Knox County and much of central Ohio.
Spittle was returning home that evening from picking up her great-grandson when the violent windstorm hit. Upon arriving at her house, she was greeted by the scene of a 90-foot tree uprooted and lying on top of her house, with the house reportedly sustaining more than $40,000 damage. An upstairs bedroom was destroyed by the tree falling on the house. Extensive water damage was also sustained in the kitchen and other downstairs walls, plus the majority of her furniture was ruined due to water damage.
The cash value homeowners insurance provided limited coverage for Spittle, since much depreciation was taken into consideration of the structure which was built in 1914. After a week of staying in a hotel, friends agreed to provide housing for her until the house was ready to move back into once again.
Coming to Spittle’s aid almost immediately was the Howard United Methodist Church, where she has been a member for four years. Pastor Lee Cubie got the ball rolling in making the appropriate contacts for organizing work crews to rehabilitate Spittle’s house.
“Most of the work has come from local churches,” said Cubie. A group of college-age students from the Assemblies of God camp near Brinkhaven arrived to perform initial demolition of the damaged portion of the house. A large crane had to be secured to remove the tree from the house. Many days of volunteer work followed in removing debris, cleaning and organizing Spittle’s belongings for storage. “We’ve had several thousands of dollars donated for materials. That’s been very helpful,” he said. “There’s been different groups of people coming up and donating material. People have been concerned.”
Habitat for Humanity loaned numerous tools and a scaffolding for the painting crew, plus retarped a section of roofing after it blew off from the wind. A group of Kenyon College students gathered to scrape and prime the house in preparing it for painting.
Finnell Hardwoods offered a 50 percent reduction in finishing services. Ed Cosby of Cosby Heating and Cooling donated time and materials for cleaning and upgrading the heating and cooling system. “They’ve all been wonderful,” said Spittle of the many volunteer offerings since the storm.
“God has provided as we’ve needed it,” said Cubie. “We haven’t been overwhelmed, but we haven’t been underserved.”
Also contributing greatly to the project is the Gay Street United Methodist Church. Building manager Jason Frazier is also disaster response coordinator for the Three Rivers District of the United Methodist Church. “I was trying to coordinate everything from the church and get volunteers organized,” said Frazier.
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