SENECA, S.C. (WYFF/CNN) - A South Carolina family lost everything when a tornado destroyed their home. They didn’t have insurance to cover the loss, so they used a can of spray paint to ask for donations.
The house Bill Patterson has spent most of his life in is now unrecognizable after an April 13 tornado in Seneca, South Carolina. Powerful winds knocked the home almost 15 feet off its foundation.
As their roof collapsed and the walls caved, Patterson, his wife and his son, who has autism, hid in the closet. The family is OK, but the house is not repairable and will have to be torn down.
“Looking at the house, you maybe feel sorry for yourself, just for a moment, but you have to pick yourself up. That’s no way to live,” Patterson said.
The family doesn’t have insurance to cover the loss, so all of the finances to rebuild will come out-of-pocket. In a desperate attempt to get help, Patterson used white spray paint to write “Can you help rebuild our home” and his Venmo account information on the house’s roof.
“Maybe this will draw some attention to what we’re trying to do,” Patterson said. “I thought it was interesting, so I got up on the roof and wrote my Venmo up there. We’ve had a number of people contributing, and certainly, we appreciate it. I can’t express how grateful we are.”
Venmo is a mobile app that allows users to send money to each other.
“Everything I am doing revolves around my wife and kids. I’m doing everything I can to rebuild for them and reach out for help,” Patterson said.
The Pattersons are staying with a family friend until they can rebuild.
For those interested in supporting the family, Patterson’s Venmo information is @Bill-Patterson-71 with the last four digits 4976.