Volunteers repair Hilton Head house damaged by falling tree

Olga Simmons is grateful the large live oak tree that crashed onto her home last week on Hilton Head Island damaged only her house and left her loved ones unharmed.

"My roof can be replaced," she told a reporter.

On Monday, that's just what was being done. Eight volunteers from The Deep Well Project's Livable Housing Program arrived at 9 a.m. to fix the damage to her roof and ceiling.

Again, she was grateful.

"They are great people," she said. "I'm very, very happy."

The tree, under which the Simmons family often held picnics, split Wednesday, with one end falling in her daughter's yard next door and the other landing on Simmons' home on Clifford Miller Drive near Gumtree Road.

Needing help with the repairs after the tree was removed, Simmons called Deep Well, which dispatched the Livable Housing team, according to Betsy Doughtie, Deep Well executive director.

The team of eight retirees who volunteer each week -- a full day Monday and a half-day Wednesday -- planned to finish the job Wednesday, said Joe South, crew leader. Work included replacing the metal roof, repairing a ceiling and rebuilding a closet that was destroyed.

The team has worked all over the island on the homes of those in need, South said. Only one of the members has career construction experience. They are a hodgepodge of retirees with engineering, chemistry or managerial backgrounds who have developed handyman skills in their spare time. Now they have time to spare to help others.

"The thing that's fun about it is each job is different," South said.

For Simmons, the fun comes in seeing her home put back in shape by cheerful volunteers.

"It's great, it's wonderful!" she said.