SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - Dozens of people celebrated a new beginning for nine Pinhook homeowners on Friday who are nearing the end of a seven-year transition into permanent housing.
The small Missouri village in Mississippi County was located in an emergency flood zone when the Army Corps of Engineers blew up the Birds Point Levee in 2011, causing a massive amount of flood water to destroy the town.
"Even though every one of these residents had flood insurance it wouldn't cover," said Kyle Schott, the regional director for Catholic Charities Southern Missouri Regional Director. "Because it was a man-made flood and disaster their flood insurance was worthless, so they were left without homes for many years due to no fault of their own."
Since then, many of the families have lived in share homes, with relatives, or other types of temporary housing, and for Lester Dunigan, who grew up in Pinhook, trying to be patient for years and years was difficult.
"Well it's been so much of kick back, kick down, and starting over," Dunigan said. "One thing leads to another but now that it comes up and it's really, really been a blessing to get as far as we have."
The ground-breaking ceremony took place on Apache Drive in Sikeston, Mo. where a seven of the new homes are located. Another home will be built just north of Sikeston, and the ninth and final house will be in Charleston.
Prayers of thanks were shared during Friday's celebration, and the numerous agencies and faith-based organizations that made building and funding the nine new homes were recognized.
Debra Tarver who's family lived in Pinhook since 1937, was part of a small chorus that also sung the Lord's Prayer.
"That is a song that my dad loved and we love," Tarver said. "Whenever we're engaged in anything special we always leave them with that song, so its special."
Tarver said that she will feel at peace once she is inside her new home.
"It doesn't feel real, but its coming," she said. "We just believed it from the beginning and we'll continue to believe until the last door is shut."
Several of the lots on Apache already have concrete foundations, and Dunigan said that it was overwhelming to hear about all the effort that went into the process and to see all the progress that has already been made.
"It's just really lovely," Dunigan said. "They're coming together fast because it wasn't like this last week. It's going faster then what I thought it would be."
Schott is hoping the new homes will be complete and several months and recommends that anyone who is interested in donating money or their time toward future projects at the new Pinhook homes to call Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri.