Ontario youth group spends spring break in Clendenin helping rebuild flooded homes

A group of teenagers traveled all the way from Ontario, Canada, to spend a week rebuilding flooded homes in Clendenin. (WCHS/WVAH)

It's spring break right now for 17 teenagers, but instead of using their time away from school to relax, they chose to travel all the way to West Virginia.

They are hard at work inside Rondal Carson’s home, tearing out damaged floors, dry wall and insulation and replacing it.

"They've literally took her down to bare bones," Carson said. "When they get through it will be like brand new."

Volunteer Grace Dekok said the flood damage was obvious.

"It had another layer of floor over top so we had to gut all that out,” Dekok said.

For spring break, members of this youth group traveled all the way from their home in Ontario, Canada, to Clendenin.

"We've got a week off school, so we figured the best thing we could do with it was head down here and help people," Phillip Zuidema said.

With the inside of his home destroyed, not knowing if there was any way to rebuild, the 78-year-old Carson moved to Indiana to live with family. It's not his first time away. He served overseas in the military and lived in California, but he has always found his way back home.

"I still prefer the mountains. This is where I was raised," Carson said.

Just one day after returning to Clendenin, Carson was connected with volunteers, ready and willing to help.

"When we drove in here, on the grange door was painted in mud, 'Thank God he's alive.' I think what he's been through is pretty incredible, and the fact that we're able to help him get back on his feet is even more incredible," Zuidema said.

Dekok said she is hoping Carson "was touched by why we're here, just to show God's love and spread God's love everywhere."

While Carson can't work quite as fast as the teens, he said he is honored to work alongside of them.

"I'm very proud of them. They all do a heck of a job. They really do. If somebody come along and asked me to help them, I'd do it in a minute," Carson said.

The group will be here all week working on Carson's home and several others. For information on how you can join in on flood recovery efforts, check out


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