FORT HOOD, Texas – Weathering damage to one’s home is never a welcomed experience, especially when your spouse is deployed.
While traveling back home with her kids from visiting family for Mother’s Day weekend, Mrs. Heather Simpson, wife of Sgt. Matthew Simpson of Echo Company, 2-227 General Support Aviation Battalion, received a call from her house sitter to tell her that her home had flooded.
A pipe had burst inside the wall which caused the entire home to fill with water.
“Even though my husband was deployed to Europe, he was the first person I called when I found out,” recalled Mrs. Simpson. “I was still three hours away and questions were going through my head. ‘How bad is it, is everything ruined, where will the kids and I stay, what am I going to do, what do I do first, how did this happen?’”
It was a lot to process while traveling with four children, knowing they were not going back to the home they left.
After speaking with her husband, Simpson called Mrs. Rebecca DeLoach, colleague and friend from the Soldier and Family Readiness Group and wife of the 2-227 GSAB commander.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but I didn’t imagine anything that came close to the amount of water I found when I arrived,” said DeLoach. “My shoes soaked through in a few steps and the humidity had caused their photos to fall off the walls.”
There were even spots on the home's exterior where water was pouring from the concrete. Unfortunately, all of the family’s beds and belongings were completely soaked.
DeLoach also reached out to Mrs. Karen Harper, wife of the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade commander and leader of the brigade SFRG for her assistance.
“She is always so willing to help,” said DeLoach. “I believe the calls she made on our behalf helped make sure there was a plan for where the Simpsons would sleep before they even returned to see their home.”
Sgt. Simpson, who was in North Macedonia at the time, became very concerned about the condition of the home and how the family would pay to replace their homewares.
Fort Hood Family Housing assisted the Simpsons in getting set up with temporary lodging for a place to stay. Although they had a new place to stay, their belongings were gone.
Between cleaning, salvaging, endless laundry, and trying to explain to her kids what was going on, stress was at a maximum for Mrs. Simpson.
“I cried so many tears,” said Simpson. “We were unable to go back to our home. It would need to be completely re-done. The Fort Hood Family Housing set us up at a hotel for almost a week and then we were sent to the hospitality house for the next several weeks as they found us a new permanent space.”
Friends and family of the 2-227 came together to clean out the Simpson home in hopes of saving as much as possible.
“It was clear that everything was ruined,” DeLoach said. “So, we got to work pulling mattresses, box springs, rugs, and molded wood furniture out for bulk trash pickup.”
When a mutual friend through the Fort Hood Spouses Club heard the Simpsons had no renter’s insurance, she reached out to her friend Maria Reed with “Moving with the Military” to ask if there were resources to help the family recover.
Not only did Reed and her sponsors agree to help, but they also set the family up for a complete remodel.
On the day of the remodel and home reveal, Soldiers from 2-227 GSAB on home station mission command joined forces with the SFRG and "Moving with the Military" team to build furniture, paint and move items into place.
“When my wife first got home, everyone on Echo Company rear detachment was at the house standing outside with Rebecca and other friends,” said Sgt. Simpson. “It is absolutely gorgeous on the inside of the house. My kids have a bed now and their rooms the way they wanted it.”
“Moving with the Military” and the 2-227 GASB family rallied for the Simpsons and gave them their home back.
“The new space is completely furnished for us. It is so un-real, it didn’t feel like my home at all, everything matched, the spaces designed for each of us, it is so beautiful,” Mrs. Simpson said. “I can’t express the words. I am overwhelmed.”
“My biggest cheerleader for me has been my battalion commander,” explained Sgt. Simpson. “I could not be more blessed by this and by God. The hardest part of this situation is that I am not there with my wife and kids. Having someone with me to keep me sane has been the best thing.“
Even though the circumstances were less than ideal, the Simpsons are grateful for the outpouring of support they received to get back on their feet.
“Rebecca DeLoach and her team went above and beyond,” said Mrs. Simpson. “I had all the resources I needed to make this experience positive and not negative. It has given me more meaning to be there for others – to ensure they have what they need.”
“It’s taught me how important it is to get out there and volunteer,” she continued.
“Military families can’t often rely on their extended families when emergencies happen,” said DeLoach. “So, it is evermore important that we come together and support each other.”