SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - Pinhook, Missouri residents are rebuilding seven years later after flooding demolished their town.
In 2011, the Ohio River hit record levels and caused massive flooding in the Heartland. Because of this, the Army Corps of Engineers activated the Birds Point Levee which then sent a massive amount of floodwater through Mississippi County that destroyed the entire community of Pinhook.
Afterwards, Pinhook residents struggled with help from the government and insurance in helping with financial support and housing. For years they have settled with temporary housing.
"Many of them have had to double and triple up in share-homes," Catholic Charities Southern Missouri Regional Director Kyle Schott said. "Floods are very difficult to work with. They had flood insurance. They were paying flood insurance all these years and because it was a man-made flood, then they find out. I don't think anybody told them, by the way, if it is (man-made) your flood insurance is worthless."
Seven years later, nine households are breaking ground on their new permanent homes. One house will be built north of Sikeston. Another in Charleston. The remaining seven households found lots right by each other to form their own little community of Pinhook which will now reside in Sikeston.
"The residents of Pinhook have definitely been praying for this for a long time," Schott said. "I think they are still in a lot of disbelief that it's actually going to happen. They've experienced a lot of promises and broken promises over the past seven years. But to see that there is somebody here and actually going to build their homes and assist them to get back to where they were, I think it's finally sinking in with them."
Crews from Mennonite Disaster Services out of Ohio are out working on the seven lots on Apache Drive in Sikeston on Monday. This is the first day breaking ground on the new homes. Crews are volunteering their time and working on marking and digging for the foundation of the homes first.
"It is exciting seeing the Amish community come forward and put forth their expertise towards this project," Schott added. "We couldn't do this without them."
Schott and his crews have been working for years with Pinhook residents in trying to re-establish a place to live for them but costs are always a concern.
"That's where we bring in the volunteers to bring down those costs," Schott said. "If it doesn't bring it down enough then the homeowners will be responsible for the rest but they will have completed homes at the end of this process."
Catholic Charities also obtained a block grant to help offset some of the costs of the materials for the homes. They still might need additional funds to complete all aspects of the houses such as painting, landscaping and other indoor and outdoor finalizing projects.
Those interested in donating funds for this project can call Catholic Charities in Cape Girardeau for more information.
There will be a groundbreaking for the rebuilding of homes for the residents of the Village of Pinhook. It will be held on Friday, Jan. 26 at 12 p.m. at 802 Apache Street in Sikeston.