The wind shook the American flag outside the Sindab Lane home that fluttered but never fell.
It was there a dedication ceremony was held Friday for Chris Holmes’ new home built with the help of volunteers with Christian international relief group Samaritan’s Purse.
“This is unreal,” the 58-year-old veteran said moments after he was handed his new set of keys. “This is really a blessing.”
After Hurricane Dorian skirted the coast of the Grand Strand, Samaritan’s Purse contacted Holmes, whose storm-damaged home was approved for replacement in late September. The project was funded by donations.
An Horry County native, Holmes grew up in a home on the same street located off of Holmestown Road. His new residence has an accessible ramp as well as an 8x10 porch that volunteers built. A doormat outside of it says, "Blessed."
In addition to a framed sign reading, “PAID IN FULL,” Holmes was presented gifts during Friday’s ceremony including a blanket and a red, white and blue shawl that were both donated by churches as well as a homeowner’s journal.
“Thank you so much,” Holmes told the crowd while flocked by family members, volunteers and others. “I’m more grateful than you could ever imagine.”
For Holmes, staying in his new abode is a far cry from his living situation just months ago.
More than three decades after his service in the United States Marine Corps took him to countries such as Japan and Saudi Arabia, his home was impacted by hurricanes that swept through the area over the last few years.
The worst of it came in 2018 when Hurricane Florence brought flooding and a tree crashing into the home, forcing Holmes to live with different family members.
“I didn’t have a choice,” he said. “I was at the point [where] I didn’t know what to do.”
While times were hard, Holmes credits his faith for helping him stay positive.
His prayers were eventually answered when he was able to connect with Samaritan’s Purse.
“This is why we do what we do,” Tony Krofchik, a program manager with the organization, said. “It’s encouraging.”
Since then, Holmes said he’s enjoyed meeting and chatting with those who worked to make his new home a reality.
That group includes members of Team Patriot, which is under the Samaritan’s Purse banner.
Team Patriot is a program that provides disaster relief and rebuild volunteer opportunities for wounded military veterans and their spouses who are part of the organization’s Operation Heal Our Patriots ministry.
Through the initiative, Krofchik said, couples are given an opportunity for bonding and spiritual reconnection at a fishing lodge in Alaska.
Following Florence’s devastation, disaster team members with Samaritan’s Purse, which aims to help those in need while spreading Christianity, helped with mudding out Horry County homes and treating mold.
With the help of volunteers, the organization has worked to rebuild and repair homes affected by the disaster, renovating or rebuilding over a dozen Horry County homes so far.
The group has established three sites in the Carolinas — two in North Carolina and one in Horry County — and hopes to have 240 homes repaired or replaced overall, with roughly a third of those homes being in South Carolina.
Locally, teams of volunteers have come to the Myrtle Beach area headquarters and worked on projects like the construction of Holmes’ new digs.
Gary Gossard, who acted as a foreman for the home’s construction, quoted the Book of Psalms during its dedication.
“Weeping may endure for a night,” he said. “But joy comes in the morning.”