Christian Appalachian Project’s WorkFest 2023 rebuilding homes, restoring hope

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 6:52 PM EDT
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WAYLAND, Ky. (WYMT) - Restoration efforts continue in the mountains, months after the summer floods washed away the shelter and security for hundreds of Eastern Kentuckians.

As part of those efforts, one mission that is rooted in the mountains is working to restore a little hope for those in need, one home rebuild at a time.

“There’s nothing else that they can do but wait,” said Christian Appalachian Project Home Repair Manager Jamie Conley. “The hope that they’ve lost and thinking, you know, they were never going to get back into their homes.”

So, WorkFest 2023 is inviting students to spend their spring break with a hammer in hand, bringing in more helpers to see families get back into their homes.

“There’s no way that we- CAP- could have an impact on this many families like we have- and continue to make an impact into the lives- without our college students, groups, volunteers that come in and help us,” said Conley.

One of those volunteers, Kristen Kathy, made the trek from Asbury College to be part of the mission.

“I just think CAP is so wonderful. It’s just like, you know, you take all these people- ranging from no experience at all to really qualified and experienced- and you put them in groups,” she said.

Those groups then use their talents to reframe walls, rebuild spaces, and restore the hope families often lose in the midst of tragedy.

“They come in here with a heart to serve,” said Conley. “You can see the hope being restored back into their lives.”

For families like the Caudill family in Wayland, the magnitude of the loss was large. Michael Caudill’s family of five now has a gutted home, after helping his mother rebuild her house across the road. Though his home saw a few feet of water and significant damage, her home was covered in the flood’s fury.

“You slowly watch everything you’ve ever built towards wash away,” said Kathy. “And that’s what a lot of people in this community kind of had to go through. It’s pretty sad.”

She is working to help the Caudills get back in their home with the crew from CAP- trying to rebuild a sense of security for the Floyd County family. According to Conley, those efforts are only possible with help like Kathy’s.

“Walking away from that job, knowing that those families got to spend their first night back in their homes- after being out of it for so many months- is bittersweet and heartwarming,” she said.

WorkFest continues in several different homes in the area as crews from all over plant themselves in the region to lend a hand. You can find more about the program and CAP here.