In the first few weeks after Hurricane Ike, Esther Nelson’s family stayed in tents, cars and for a brief period, in an RV in a cow pasture.
Nelson, 66, fondly remembered the cow pasture Tuesday.
“It was really nice,” she reminisced. “Quiet.”
For the last year, the family has lived in a small trailer on their Oak Island property.
It’s been a long road to recovery, but Friday, the Nelsons finally will move into their new home – one built for them by pop singer-songwriter Neil Diamond.
Esther and Edward Nelson will be the first of 12 Oak Islanders to move into houses donated by the music legend, who by chance visited the tiny fishing village shortly after it was devastated by Ike.
He was so impressed with the community’s self-reliant attitude – and so touched by plight of the villagers, most of whom lost their homes – that he pledged the proceeds from his concert tour merchandise sales.
New houses are going up – literally hoisted onto pilings with a crane – all over Oak Island. About six of the homes donated by Diamond already are on their pilings.
The dwellings are all double-wide manufactured houses, secured by all the required hurricane straps.