The Valley Responds

By: Kelly Creswell Email
By: Kelly Creswell Email

As an active duty member of the US Navy, Scott Norman and his family lived in Long Beach, Mississippi. But when the hurricane hit, like most families, they never imagined this storm could take away everything they owned, including their home. Scott Norman says he can look back and laugh at pictures of his demolished house. But back in November, with no home and no belongings, he was about to file for bankruptcy. That's when volunteers from The Valley Responds found him and wanted to help out.

"Who were these people that were coming to help me for no reason, from 940 miles away, to come help me and my house for no reason," says Scott Norman. "I was sure that they wanted money, that they wanted something. What little I had left, they wanted."

"Well that reason isn't quite accurate, we just, there's something about volunteer work that you get a reward from being able to help people," says Rodney Burkholder, a volunteer coordinator.

And that's what they did for Scott and his family. In three months, Scott had a new place to call home.

"It's phenomenal to see your kids run around your yard," says Norman. "To know that know that nobody's going to come take this away from you, they can't, you've already been through the worst, there's nothing worse than this."

Now, Scott has come back to the Valley to thank the volunteers and to show his appreciation for all of their hard work.

"I used to sit on my couch, and say those poor people in California, they had a mudslide," says Norman. "Those poor people in Texas, they had a tornado. I don't sit on my couch anymore and say those poor people. Not anymore. I get in my car and I drive around my community, and I'm talking to people about The Valley Responds in Harrisonburg, Virginia. People 940 miles away that didn't have to help me, but did."

The Valley Responds helped build more than 300 homes for families like Scott's. Both volunteers and Scott want to emphasize that even though it's been more than a year and a half since the hurricane, the Gulf coast area still needs help. You can continue to support The Valley Responds and can go to our website and click on featured links section. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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