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When Hope Rises: Woman Overcomes Loss and Receives New Mobile Home

In the face of tragedy and devastation caused by natural disasters, stories of resilience and humanity's ability to come together to offer hope and support bring a sense of inspiration. Such is the story of Anna Jean Sams, known by her family as “Jean.” Jean lost her home in the flood last year but found solace in the unyielding kindness and generosity of five extraordinary organizations. This heartwarming tale demonstrates the power of unity, compassion, and the impact of five organizations working tirelessly to rebuild, not just a house, but also a sense of hope.

According to the National Weather Service, over nine inches of rain fell the night of the flood, turning small creeks and streams into raging rivers. Jean was home alone, which was rare, because she has a steel rod in her leg and walks with the help of a cane, so she wasn’t home alone often. She assured her family she would be okay, not knowing what would unfold that night. She was asleep when her phone rang early in the morning, and her niece, Kim, told her to look outside. When she did, all she could see was muddy water everywhere.

She said, "Lord Kim, I'm flooded." With the help of her cane, she made it back to the kitchen and saw water coming into her home.

When she made her way back to the kitchen, water was everywhere. Jean’s niece said she would come and get her, but Jean told her no, because there was no way her niece could make it there safely. Jean noticed her refrigerator started moving as the water quickly rose to her knees. She called her niece back and while on the phone, all the power went out. Her niece and nephew thought Jean had died in that moment.

"Kim said when she was on the phone with Jean, she heard this awful noise that sounded like an explosion, and she thought it was a natural gas explosion;” she turned to her husband and said, ‘I've just heard her die,’" Ronnie said.

The explosion was the power and phone lines disconnecting from the trailer.

"I said, Lord, please help me find my way to my hospital bed," Jean said, standing in knee-deep, muddy, cold water in the dark. "I found the bed, laid down, and just started praying to God." A loud pop ensued, then another, then glass started to break.

"I could hear more water coming in, but I couldn't see anything," Jean said. "Then, suddenly, I felt my trailer start to move."

Jean said she thought she was going to die then. "I don't know how far it went, but it was a wild ride, and then I slammed into something," she added.

Her trailer, which the Christian Appalachian Project had recently refurbished, slammed into three large pine trees. The trailer had moved approximately 30 feet, then rotated broadside before being caught by the trees. For years Jean had tried to have the trees cut, but they ended up being her saving grace. While this was happening, Jean was in her living room in her hospital bed and never moved, her walls were caving in but stopped just short of her. Her neighbor came to her rescue because search and rescue couldn’t reach her due to mud slides.

Watching her cherished home succumb to the relentless waters was a heart-wrenching experience that left her displaced, uncertain, and with nowhere to turn. Jean's story caught the attention of multiple remarkable organizations: AdventHealth, Volunteers of America, Doug Quinn – Executive Director of an insurance company and an advocate for disaster relief survivors, and the Christian Appalachian Project. Blending their respective expertise and spirit of generosity, they embarked on an incredible journey to restore a physical shelter and Jean's sense of security and hope for the future.

AdventHealth and Volunteers of America were able to donate $15,000. They did all the excavating work, tiles, septic tanks, porches, and landscaping for Jean’s new home. The Christian Appalachian Project donated a brand-new washer and dryer, and Catholic Charities donated all her furniture.

Doug Quinn, a survivor of Hurricane Sandy, learned a lot about insurance companies through his tragic experience. With that knowledge, he formed the American Policyholder Association, a nonprofit watchdog group that tracks and reports criminal fraud perpetrated by insurance companies. Through their mission group called Builders of Empathy, a group of craftsmen who demonstrate a deep commitment to making a difference, the company donated $50,000 towards the cost for Jean’s mobile home. Their efforts ensured that Jean's new home would be a place of comfort and spoke volumes about their dedication to helping individuals rebuild their lives.

A year of collaboration, hard work, and shared determination culminated in the completion of the set-up of Jean's new mobile home, which was recently delivered.

Jean's story is more than just a tale of one woman's triumph over adversity—it serves as a beacon of resilience, strength, and unity. These remarkable organizations not only restored a vulnerable woman's sense of stability, but also inspired a community, spreading a ripple effect of hope, love, and compassion throughout the town.

Jean's story reminds us that when humanity comes together, the most extraordinary developments can arise, instilling hope where it may have been lost and lighting a path toward a better and brighter future.