Fuller Center continues to build homes in Beauregard

Published 6:00 pm Thursday, May 2, 2019

BEAUREGARD — This has been a very busy week in the Beauregard community. Two months after a devastating tornado caused enormous damage to the community and killed 23 people, a massive cleanup has been going on and three new homes are being built under the direction of the Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project (CFCP).

“We have been crazy busy this week,” CFCP Executive Director Kim Roberts said. “We’ve been building three new homes. We are all but finished on one of them and very close on the other two. We’ll have them all dedicated by Saturday.”

The CFCP has been partnering with the East Alabama Medical Center on this week’s home building. It’s the start of what promises to be a year of rebuilding lives in Beauregard. By this coming October, the three new homes being built this week will be part of 15 new CFCP houses in the community. The CFCP will partner with the Church of the Highlands in Auburn to build two more homes in the area, and this fall the Fuller Center’s 2019 Legacy Build will be taking place in Beauregard. This will see the construction of 10 new homes, bringing the total to 15.

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CFCP No. 43 is all but finished. On Thursday morning, sod was being placed in the front yard of what will be the home of Willie and Betty Harris. They lost their mobile home in the March 3 tornado. No. 44 will be the home of Napoleon Darby and No. 45 is being built for Wayne Robinson, whose sister was killed on March 3.

“It’s been hot this week, but the work has been coming along great,” Roberts said. “It’s been amazing seeing it all come together. We will be doing interior painting and putting in the doors and cabinets on the final two homes today. Men’s Missions of Chicago, Illinois was here today doing the roof on No. 44. The volunteer work crews from Norbord and Knauf have been here all week. Steve Tramell has been here every day this week. They’ve all done such good work.”

Two-thirds of the new homes to be built will be constructed the first week of October. A kickoff program will be held at Providence Baptist Church in Beauregard on Sunday evening, Sept. 29. Work will get started the next day and will continue throughout the week. A massive number of volunteers will be in Beauregard from all over the United States.

“I was so pleased to have received a call from the Church of the Highlands letting us know they wanted to partner with us,” Roberts said. “They will be helping us build two new homes in July.”

The 23 people killed on March 3 in Beauregard was more than twice the number of all tornado deaths in the U.S. in 2018. Four of the dead were children and ten of the victims were from one family. Some 60 people were treated for injuries in the EAMC emergency room. Many people were reported missing. Drones with heat seeking instruments were brought in to look for them while ground crews waited for daylight on March 4. Everyone in the area was accounted for within two days.

Numerous manufactured homes were destroyed by the storm. Some of the metal framing was twisted around trees and some was never seen again. Multiple vehicles were swept away and mangled upon recognition upon hitting a tree or the ground. A large semi-truck was wrapped around the base of a tree.

“It’s heartbreaking what happened here,” Roberts said. “We have met so many really good people here, and we are happy to be making a difference for them. We are happy to be part of this rebuilding. Within six months, there will be 15 new homes in the area. We know we can’t replace what they’ve lost, but we can make things better for them.”