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90-year-old man repairs home he built by hand in 1957

By Hannah Mackenzie

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    CRUSO, North Carolina (WLOS) — Frustrations are mounting across Haywood County as state and federal aid have yet to arrive, more than two weeks after Tropical Storm Fred decimated parts Western North Carolina.

On Friday, Canton Mayor Zeb Smathers said he is begging President Joe Biden to sign the federal disaster declaration.

“Our people deserve better than to be waiting in a bureaucratic purgatory,” Smathers said. “Our people are entitled to it, and people are waiting on this.

According to Smathers, there is still no word on when Haywood County residents will begin to benefit from state or federal assistance.

Bob Henson is not waiting around. The 90-year-old rolled up his sleeves and is working to repair the house he built by hand in 1957.

“We’re building it back,” Henson said. “The house didn’t move, so we gutted it, took all the hardwood floors out and we’re going to build it back how it was.”

Born and raised in Cruso, the farmer-turned-contractor said he would rather put in the elbow grease himself than wait around for the government to help.

“That’s the way we are, that’s the way I was raised,” Henson said. “Roll up your sleeves and get dirty!”

Henson’s daughter, Lisa, now lives in the house. According to Lisa, she and her father drive 180 miles every day from his home in Georgia to her house in Cruso to repair their historic family home.

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