Soldier spearheads efforts to help NC veteran repair his flooded home


RAEFORD, N.C. (WNCN) — The impact of Hurricane Matthew is especially causing pain to homeowners without flood insurance.


Some Fort Bragg Soldiers are helping one family recover.  The group of soldiers is coming together to help a complete stranger.

“I was thinking about giving up and giving it back to the mortgage company,” said James Jackson, whose home was flooded.

James Jackson has lived through three major floods at his Raeford home in the last 20 years.

Each time, Jackson’s possessions are ruined and he’s forced to start over.

Most recently, at least three feet of water came in.

“Then I met this girl, she is my Angel,” Jackson said.

Over the last two weeks, Staff Sergeant Kaleigh Presgraves has led an effort to clean out and remodel Jackson’s home.

Work began before Hurricane Matthew and was delayed by the storm, but is back underway now.

Presgraves says she was amazed after seeing the 67-year-old’s home surrounded by water.

“I went straight home and dropped my brother and sister off and said ‘there was a man who needs me’ and came right here,” said Kaleigh Presgraves, who is leading effort to remodel the home.

With boots now inside the home, at least 20 volunteers, mostly soldiers, have gutted Jackson’s home.

They’ve pulled up carpet and thrown away furniture and other destroyed items.

“Soldiers 24/7 and he’s a veteran, so we look out for our own,” said one of the volunteers, Sgt. Andrew May.

But there’s another Presgraves lending a hand and supporting his wife’s mission.

Golden Knight Kevin Presgraves is normally out of town, performing at least 300 days out of the year. But the impact of Hurricane Matthew forced him to stay home.

“I was in Owensboro Kentucky performing for the American public, I got the call from her, she told me what was going on. I knew how bad the weather was back here,” said Golden Knight Kevin Presgraves, who is also volunteering to help.

For now, Jackson is staying with his daughter while the soldiers continue renovation.

Presgraves says they’ll paint walls, purchase carpet and furniture and it won’t cost Jackson a dime.

Jackson says he’s grateful.

“I got some help now, they help me out in my time of need,” Jackson said. “I’m tired of fighting, I’m 67 years old, I’m an old man, I can’t keep on doing this.”

Work on Jackson’s home will take less than a month.  A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for the repairs.


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