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"Overwhelming." That's the feeling that swept over Lowe's volunteer Michael Lewis when he saw the water marks halfway up the wall in Bobby Benfore's home. It's the same word Lewis used to describe Benfore's reaction on Aug. 24. That day the Korean War veteran watched more than 20 Lowe's volunteers rip insulation and damaged walls from his home in Bordeaux, a working-class neighborhood in north Nashville.

"Just to see the tears on his face, the reaction that we were there to help was overwhelming,” Lewis said of Benfore, who was able to return home after months in a hotel. "He shed some tears, and I shed the same tears."

The Bordeaux neighborhood was among those most severely impacted by the historic May floods that destroyed 1,500 homes in Middle Tennessee and displaced more than 10,000 people. Lowe's answered the call for help by partnering with Hands On Nashville and Rebuilding Together® Nashville to repair seven flood-damaged homes. Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation awarded Hands On Nashville a $50,000 grant for the two-month rebuilding effort.

Lowe's Heroes wrapped up the restoration work on Oct. 19 with repairs to Nancy Murphy's home in Bellevue, the same area where Lowe's of West Nashville began relief efforts by distributing more than 170 cases of water on May 5. Altogether, 135 Lowe's Heroes from 16 Nashville-area stores contributed more than 1,600 volunteer hours of labor to complete the seven rebuilding projects that stretched across Davidson County.

"It really makes you feel good that you are making an impact that big,” said Lowe's of Nashville Store Manager Chris Soper. He organized Lowe's volunteers and contributions that included $120,000 worth of supplies donated by local Lowe's stores and Lowe's valued vendor partners. Lowe's also made a $7,000 contribution to Rebuilding Together Nashville.

The assistance couldn't have come a day too soon for Murphy, who lost nearly everything on the first floor of her two-story home in Bellevue's River Plantation subdivision when the Harpeth River rose and flooded hundreds of area homes. "I had no money to take care of this,” said Murphy, a single mother of three, who lost her job as an environmental engineer two years ago.

Murphy moved in with her sister for two months before returning home and tackling major repairs, including hanging sheet rock. But with the kitchen in disrepair and her belongings scattered everywhere, the challenging work and living conditions began to wear on Murphy.

"You don't realize how difficult it's going to be," Murphy said. "I said, 'Oh. Man, I need some help.' "

So when Lowe's Heroes showed up the day after Murphy's 53rd birthday, she was "beyond thrilled.” Lowe's volunteers primed and painted her walls and ceilings; hung new light fixtures, a ceiling fan and doors; repaired windows; installed baseboards and weather stripping; sanded her cabinets; and provided and installed a new dishwasher and stove — all in one day.

Murphy said having her home restored was the best gift she could have hoped for. She was amazed Lowe's volunteers thanked her for letting them lend a hand.

"Without their help, there's no way I could have had my kids here for the holidays,” she said. "The end is finally in sight. I never thought the day would come.”

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