A helping hand for others weathering life’s storms

In May 2008, tornadoes struck Damascus. Faulk was at work at Central Baptist College in Conway. Her husband, Travis, was several hours away in Texas. Their 2-year-old son, Layne, was with her parents in Damascus.

Her parents called at 8:30 a.m. to say they were fine, but there had been a tornado. After a nerve-wracking drive to Damascus, she arrived to realize it was pitch black in the middle of the morning. Downed power lines were everywhere. Her church, located across from the road that went to her home, was nearly destroyed, and police were routing traffic away from the road. She eventually had to abandon her vehicle and climb over the trees and utility poles to get to her house. It took two hours for her father to come in his truck to pick her up because in his effort to avoid debris, he became mired in a field. The whole nightmarish scene was “crazy,” she said.

The house they were renting had sustained extensive damage.
“For almost two weeks after (the tornadoes), the Red Cross delivered meals,” Faulk said. “We were living in an RV. First Baptist Church in Damascus delivered breakfast, and the Red Cross did lunch and dinner until tornadoes hit Stuttgart. We decided when we were able to give back we would give back.”

At the time, however, the family was looking at a lot of obstacles to getting back on their feet.
“The house had to be gutted and redone,” Faulk said. “The contractors were all busy because there was so much damage. We were looking at November to December to move back in. We decided to build instead of renovating that rent house.”

With few options of getting into a permanent residence quickly, the couple made a decision that would get a roof over their heads in the least amount of time.

“We put up a metal shop and framed a house inside it,” Faulk said. “We built that in 10 weeks. We just needed to be in something quickly. Every rental property up there, someone was in.”
The outside of the building looks like any other 40 by 50 metal building. Inside, a white front door gives a hint of the purpose of the wooden framing inside the metal building. The interior of the house is like any other with all the comforts of home.

 “Once we got electricity, we moved the trailer down there,” Faulk said. “It was hard to find financing, because it’s called a commercial metal building. The utilities took us a long time because there were so many people without power, but we just got on the list. There were still people (without power) in Clinton from the tornadoes in February.”

As the family got back on solid ground, Faulk was asked to speak at a United Way event about the importance of supporting the nonprofit’s partner agencies, such as the Red Cross. She spoke about the fact that she had always given, thinking she was helping senior citizens or children with developmental delays.

She never thought she would be a recipient.

Colleen Joslin, director of the Red Cross Faulkner County Service Center, asked Faulk to be a Red Cross Hero – a donor who gives $1,000. Faulk and her husband talked about it and held a fundraiser last year and raised $2,600. This year they held another and raised $3,347.

Faulk now serves on the Red Cross Advisory Board for the Faulkner County Service Center, which serves Cleburne, Conway, Faulkner, Perry and Van Buren Counties.

“I really am glad to be a part of the advisory board now, especially having received services from the Red Cross,” Faulk said. “It’s rewarding for me to know what I’m doing in some small way is allowing those services to continue for other people.”

Joslin said, “It does make a difference when anyone is impacted by the services that they are now having a voice for. Sancy is one of those board members that you dream of having on your board. She doesn’t just sit on the board because she received assistance from us. She truly has a passion for the American Red Cross. That is cherished by every director that has a board member that truly believes in what the nonprofit does. I can’t speak enough good about her.”