They just spent their savings on a home that is now destroyed.
“Who would you be bitter at?” asked Kevin Vanvalkenburgh, when asked why he was in good spirits as he looked at the remains of his home on Collins Street.
It was a force of nature, Hurricane Matthew, that made the mobile home unlivable. He shared it with his wife, Judy, and two sons, ages 6 and 8.
They could not afford wind storm insurance and nearly all their possessions were destroyed. They had just spent their savings on remodeling several rooms.
“What I’d give to have that money back,” the dad said.
They thought the storm was over on Oct. 7 and were having breakfast when his wife, Judy, bent over to pick up a piece of toast. A tree broke through the house and a large branch went over her.
“We’re lucky,” said Kevin.
They are hoping to get their heavily damaged mobile home replaced by FEMA. They have already called the agency, and were told that President Obama had not signed the OK for residents of Florida to apply for damages, but he is expected to sign.
Vanvalkenburgh works as a security guard, while his wife, Judy, volunteers at their children’s school and works part-time whenever possible.
“We work hard like any other American family and now are in real need of help,” she wrote on their gofundme page. “Water damaged mostly everything in the house. We have to replace all our furniture. Beds, appliances and the TVs got ruined and so did the computer. I was able to save some of our clothes but not much. We are praying that FEMA will help us replace the house but the expenses we have are overwhelming.”
They have lived in the mobile home for 15 years.
“It’s sad because the kids grew up here,” Kevin. The couple also has two grown children.
He had wanted to get the tree that fell cut, but couldn’t afford it because there was an extra charge because it was near some electrical lines.
The day after the hurricane, neighbors came over and cut up and removed the tree that was lying on their house.
“I told them I couldn’t pay them,” he said.
The neighbors worked all day and cut the tree up and removed it from their home. Judy made them cheese sandwiches because that’s all she had.
“I wish I could have made more,” she said.
The couple are staying upbeat, but Vanvalkenburgh said his wife is sad because after the remodeling, it was like a new home. They were even thinking of selling and moving to something better.
But they are staying upbeat.
“We’re alive,” Kevin said.
Help the Vanvalkenburgh family
Find Judy Vanvalkenburgh on Facebook
Individuals in Volusia County have been declared eligible for assistance from FEMA. Individuals and households may apply for grants for hurricane-related needs such as home repairs or replacement of personal property not covered by insurance. Renters can also apply.
Call 800-621-3362 or visit DisasterAssistance.gov.
The city has contracted with two companies to pick up debris stacked by homeowners and businesses along the right-of-way. There are 34 trucks picking up at total of 205 loads per day or about 10,000 cubic yards.
Damages in Ormond Beach
Ormond Beach had a total of $25,620,003 in damage from Hurricane Matthew, while Daytona Beach had $22,673,154 and New Smyrna Beach had $23,888,640. The total for Volusia County was $222,360,823.
In the following information, “affected” means missing shingles, broken windows, etc. “Minor” means windows or doors damaged, or damage to a component such as a water heater. “Major” means structural damage that will take at least 30 days to repair. “Destroyed” means repair is not feasible.
In Ormond Beach:
Single family homes: 543 affected; 75 minor; 33 major; and 8 destroyed.
Mobile homes: 2 affected; two minor; 3 major; and 3 destroyed.
One retail store and one multi-family building had major damage.
One hotel had major damage and five had minor damage.
One restaurant had major damage.