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Volunteers help homeowner after three disasters

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Volunteers help homeowner after three disasters
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After enduring three disasters in less than ten years, an Elmira man and his 16-year-old son have found themselves living in a camper in the driveway of their home. But as our Katie Husband tells us, help is on the way for this the single father who is once again trying to rebuild what Mother Nature tore apart.

ELMIRA, N.Y. -- Tom Long has seen better days.

"Seems like every two years, I get one of these," said Long.

The chain of events started about seven or eight years ago when a neighbor's tree fell on Long's home, causing a fair amount of damage.

"Then I had a fire three years ago. Pretty much gutted the inside out. I re-wired it, had it re-plumbed, the tornado came and it is what it is now," said Long.

Rebuilding time after time has taken quite a toll, but this time around, there's support. Three weeks ago, the Finger Lakes Homebuilders and Remodelers Association stepped in.

"Certainly no one should go through what he has to go through by himself, so we're able to help," said Michael Williams, Finger Lakes Homebuilders and Remodelers Association.

"It's like, sometimes I'm glad to get up and go to work in the morning just to get away from it all," said Long.

But the ten volunteers continue to work to get Long back on track.

"We've done a lot of demolition. We reframed about half of the house. Right now, we're in the process of putting the roof up," said Williams.

"After the third time, you get kinda used to it, you know," said Long.

Long and his 16-year-old son have been living in this trailer, which is an everyday struggle, but said the work these men are doing on their house gives them hope during the holiday season.

"There's not words to explain it, you know, somebody comes in and takes time out of their work week where they could be making money and to work on somebody they don't knows house, it shows the Christmas spirit, you know, gives you a little faith in your fellow men," said Long. "I can't thank them enough."

The crew is hoping to get the house closed up before it gets even colder because the camper isn't heated. They're also looking for donations to help with costs.

If you're interested, they're being accepted through Catholic Charities of Chemung County.

To donate, contact:
Lindsay Winters
Director of Development, Catholic Charities of Chemung County
(607) 734-9784 x2145

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