SNOHOMISH, Wash. - A Mill Creek Church is banding together to help those who lost their homes in last year's Washington wildfires.
North Creek Presbyterian's HELP team, which stands for His Enduring Love Provides, are constructing walls in a member's garage in Snohomish.
"We do it because God tells us to help your neighbors and that's what it's about," said Mark Thompson. "Helping those who would have no other option because they don't have the abilities or knowledge or manpower."
It's been nearly a year since the Carlton Complex fire, the state's largest wildfire on record. Church member George Taylor helped his church family realize the scope of the tragedy in the Methow Valley. One of his relatives has an orchard that lost about four miles of deer fencing. Two of his cousins lost their homes.
"Firemen came to her house and you have five minutes to get out," Taylor explained. "She ran for her life and the house went to the ground."
These volunteers are working on homes for people who were once strangers. They've already constructed the walls, doors, windows and roof for one family. Now church members are helping in the build for a Vietnam vet and Seattle shipyard worker who retired to the valley and lost his home too.
"He's way up in the hills. There's no water lines, he could not buy insurance," Taylor explained. "There are a lot of tragedies over there we're trying to help people out with."
It takes about $18,000 to fund their portion of these homes. Fundraisers and private donations have helped them construct the exteriors. Other groups take over from there. They plan on doing more and set up a Facebook group to spread the word.
"The need is great and it's not going to go away," Thompson said. "It's going to take - they guessed - three years at least before everyone who's uninsured and is depending upon us volunteers to get their homes built."
From the church's website regarding help: