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Hurricane devastated home fixed for couple

September 25, 2012 2:35:22 PM PDT
A New Jersey couple whose home was badly damaged during Hurricane Irene received a special gift.

They haven't been able to go home since then, but Tuesday there was a big step toward getting them back in their home.

"I didn't think I'd ever come back here, I really didn't," said Alice Best, a homeowner.

Alice Best and her husband Charlie raised their three children in the home and they have almost five decades of memories there.

Tuesday, they watched dozens of volunteers give it a much-needed makeover as part of the Home Depot's "Celebration of Service", which helps military veterans like Charlie repair their homes.

"They understand your problem and they're here to help. Just like when I was 17 and I joined the Navy, to help," said Charlie Best, a homeowner.

During Hurricane Irene last summer, the Bests had to be rescued from their home when the basement foundation wall crumbled and officials feared the whole house would collapse.

"It was devastated, at any point it could have been a condemned property, thousands and thousands of dollars in damage," said Tracey Burke, Home Depot Manager.

The Bests' homeowners insurance didn't cover floods, so they feared they would lose their beloved home.

But then Home Depot stepped in, offering to donate the materials and volunteer labor that contractors had estimated could have cost the Bests more than $100,000.

During the storm, the kitchen was flooded with six inches of water.

Now it's been completely redone and 48 years after she moved in, Alice Best is getting the dream kitchen she's been waiting 48 years for.

"We went one day and picked everything out and it was heaven to not have to go to the cash register," Alice Best said.

For the last year, Charlie and Alice, who have been married 63 years, have been living first in a shelter, then with their daughter and now in a church apartment.

Volunteers say they'll be able to return to a home that is beautiful, clean and safe by next week.

"The smile on their faces, that was enough payment for me today," said Mark Boyko, of MCB Landscaping.

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