Hope Village and partners were celebrating a milestone today -- and a goal achieved.
The groups have worked to rehab homes in the Mouse River valley since the 2011 flood...and way back when they started the process, they set a goal of 500 homes.
That number is now in the rear view window.
Perry Olson has the story from one of those 500, and how being back home is helping one Minot woman recover from not only the flood...but something much more difficult.
It is a milestone worth celebrating...500 homes rebuilt in the valley...
(Rev. Paul Krueger - Hope Village Director) "Minot's flood may have done a tremendous amount of damage but it doesn't have the last laugh and it doesn't win."
No it hasn't for many thanks to Hope Village and partners...Cherie Mergel knows that. This home, the home she started living in way back in 1948...still belongs to her, rebuilt near Arrowhead Shopping Center.
(Rev. Paul Krueger - Hope Village Director) "For some it is being able to say like Cherie here, 'My lifelong home is back and I am here.'".
Hope Village provided much of the labor needed to get this house complete. Electrical, flooring, you name it, volunteers played a role. They did everything asked of them right away...well almost...this ramp turned into a bit of a surprise for Cherie...
(Cherie Mergel - Home Restored by Hope Village) "The Lutherans are good people but they kind of lie a little bit too!"
Those Hope Village volunteers she's talking about from Wisconsin...the Lutherans...weren't lying of course. They were setting up a surprise. The next day, they were back to get this ramp set up -- and it was a good thing too. Cherie's husband Lloyd had fallen ill...and it was needed for him to get in and out of the house and this was a house that they wouldn't be leaving.
(Cherie Mergel - Home Restored by Hope Village) "People wanted us to move...and I said no... We didn't move...we celebrated New Year's Eve!"
It would turn out to be the final New Year's celebrated by the two together. Lloyd passed away this month. It has obviously been a hard time for Cherie...but made easier -- if that's possible -- by being home, and knowing that Lloyd was able to spend the last part of his life in the home he loved so much.
(Cherie Mergel - Home Restored by Hope Village) "He did...and he enjoyed it. I am very thankful. If it hadn't had been for them I don't know where we would have been."
This faith-based effort has provided a home for Cherie and 501 other families. She'll continue to live here...enjoying the green grass Lloyd cherished so much...and this house that is back, thanks to Hope Village and partners. In Minot, Perry Olson, KX News.
Hope Village officials say there are still about 50 homes left to complete...and they won't stop until the last one is finished.