Laura Troyer runs a screw into a new railing with assistance from Jasmyne Johnston. They travelled to North Carolina as part of a Y-Trip in early March to assist rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Florence. Photos by Macson McGuigan.

Students assist rebuilding efforts following hurricane damage in North Carolina

Hurricane Florence poured 30 inches of rain in Pollocksville, North Carolina in 2018 and caused a storm surge on the nearby Atlantic coast, leading to extensive flood damage to homes in the area.

Over spring break at the beginning of this month, eight students from Eastern Mennonite University and campus pastor Brian Martin Burkholder went down to help ongoing efforts to rebuild. Video and photography manager Macson McGuigan documented their trip in the photo essay below.

The team travelled as part of Y-Serve, formerly known as the Young People’s Christian Association. They plan service-oriented Y-Trips each fall and spring break, and are the longest-running student organization at EMU. Y-Serve aims to “serve others as the hands and feet of Jesus.”

Other Y-Serve trips this spring took students throughout the southern U.S. on a civil rights tour; to Bethlehem Farm, an intentional community in West Virginia; and to Virginia’s eastern shore to pitch in with Habitat for Humanity.

Y-Serve partnered with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) for the trip, which has been rebuilding in the area since last fall.

Jessie Landis digs a post hole for a flight of steps.

Jasmyne Johnston runs screws into the treads on a new set of stairs the team built.

Students display the buried ‘treasures’ they found while digging post holes.

Hannah Thomas sprays insulation into the crevice between the wall and the floor.

Jonas Beachy and Jonathan Reimer-Berg hoist a generator onto the back of the MDS truck.

Jessie Landis works up a batch of concrete with a trowel.

After a long day of work at the job site in nearby Trenton, North Carolina, Katie Meza plays volleyball with another service group from Canada.

Jonas Beachy plays volleyball at the Pollocksville Baptist Church Parsonage, which serves as MDS’s home base in the area.

Jessie Landis delights in the sport.

Jonathan Reimer-Berg focuses intently on an after-dinner game of Dutch Blitz.

Laura Troyer and Jessie Landis share a laugh between cuts with the miter saw.

Jonathan Reimer-Berg mixes concrete.

Reuben Peachey-Stoner cuts lumber for the stairs.

Underneath the house, Jonas Beachy installs fiberglass insulation between floor joists.

Brian Martin Burkholder and Jonas Beachy work on framing.

 Katie Meza and Jessie Landis fill and tamp post holes with dirt while building a handicap-accessible ramp.

Reuben Peachey-Stoner runs screws for the ramp.

Hannah Thomas installs vinyl siding.

Jonathan Reimer-Berg fastens siding to the house.

From left: Jessie Landis, Hannah Thomas, Katie Meza, Jasmyne Johnston, Reuben Peachey-Stoner, Jonathan Reimer-Berg, Jonas Beachy, and Laura Troyer stand on the front deck they built.

Discussion on “Students assist rebuilding efforts following hurricane damage in North Carolina

  1. These students served with joy and commitment as they contributed to the ongoing work of Mennonite Disaster Service repairing and rebuilding from major flood damage. Their energy was contagious, they knew how to have fun, and their sense of service was sincere. Here’s to many more such service opportunities in the coming years!

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