Eyewitness News 9-March 31, 2012

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT)- The countdown is on for volunteers to descend on the east to go to work.  In a couple of months thousands of people from all over the country will join the non-profit group Eight Days of Hope.  They will rebuild homes in some of the hardest hit areas from Hurricane Irene.

If Hurricane Irene had destroyed Marilyn Jones’ house, “I would hope that someone would reach out you know and give me help.”

That’s why she became a case worker in Pamlico County after the storm.  “And my heart just went out to the people because you saw all their hard-earned money out on the side of the highway,” she said.

It’s a familiar scene for Stephen Tybor- president of Eight Days of Hope.  “The number eight in the Bible means new beginnings,” he said.  “People in Pamlico County deserve a new beginning.”

His group has rebuilt homes from Louisiana to Tennessee in areas devastated by natural disasters.  He expects this trip will be the biggest one yet with about 2,000 volunteers coming in from all over the country.   “So we have people who do HVAC work for a living, dry wall, painting, carpentry, electrical work.”

Tybor says it takes all kinds of volunteers to get the work done.  They even need people to help pick up the volunteers when they arrive here at the airport in New Bern.

“Even though I’m a case manager, what can I do, and my thing, my gift is children.”

After hearing about the need for money, resources, and other volunteer services, Jones wants to set up a babysitting site for volunteers’ children.

For Tybor, the mission is clear.  “God tells us to love your neighbor as you love yourself,” he sid.  “And I don’t know about you, but I can become very selfish at times, but there’s people just 20 miles down the road from New Bern that are waiting for people to come help them.”

Jones has spent months consoling storm victims who lost it all.  “I know it’s material things that you had for a long time, but you know, you’re here and we’re here to help,” she said.

Eight Days of Hope will be in Pamlico County from May 26th through June 2nd.  The group will partner with the Pamlico Disaster Coalition to find out which homeowners are eligible.

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