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Church, Volunteers Rebuild House Destroyed By Flooding In Billerica

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV
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The First Congregational Church in Billerica stepped in to rebuild this home destroyed by floods in 2010.

The First Congregational Church in Billerica stepped in to rebuild this home destroyed by floods in 2010.

WBZ-TV's Jim Armstrong Jim Armstrong
Jim Armstrong is an Emmy-award winning reporter who joined WBZ-TV in...
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BILLERICA (CBS) – It was a bad story turned even worse last summer for the Williams/Head family of Billerica. The floods of March, 2010 destroyed their house.

The family of four (then expecting their third child) ended up living in a trailer in their own front yard.

They spent six months there, until Bob Miner saw the family’s story on the news and decided he and the First Congregational Church in Billerica had to be the ones to step in.

The family did have flood insurance, but it ended up offering them just pennies on the dollar. It was nowhere near the estimated $250,000 it is costing for the house to be completely rebuilt.

“It was just, we saw them, we met them we said, come here. And that was it,” says congregation member Bob Miner.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports

“That’s how we do it,” he explained. “We do it together.”

The congregation is helping pay the mortgage on the old house (which the bank refused to forgive or defer) while the family lives in the church parlor. For a time, the congregation also paid for the family to live in half of a local duplex, but the church can no longer afford it.

All this is happening as the house itself is rebuilt — bigger, better, and for free.

The building contractor, Billerica-based Mark Young just wants to help. He even declined to be interviewed for this story, saying he wasn’t interested in the publicity; he just wants to get the job done. He has also convinced his sub-contractors to volunteer their time and talents.

For Rita Head, who has since given birth to the family’s second daughter, it’s a lot to take in. The family was not a member of the First Congregational Church, making their generosity even more special – and overwhelming.

“We didn’t know the community was there for people like that,” she said.

As for the house that she expects to move into by Thanksgiving, Head says it is “wonderful. It’s going to be so much bigger than our old house and we won’t have to worry about the flood anymore.”

That’s because the contractor built a four-foot high foundation. This family’s every concern has been taken care of. The church is even planning to help them furnish the home once they move in.

Bob Miner sums it up well: “This is a nice town to live in. This is a nice place to live.”

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