Joel and Beth Boyles sit in their Flagler Beach home they're rebuilding after two hurricanes left their property in shambles. They are about two to three months from finishing construction. Photo by Paige Wilson
Joel Boyles and his son Daxon Boyles watch new footers being dug after Hurricane Irma delayed their rebuilding process. Courtesy photo
Palm Coast Observer
After a downburst from Hurricane Matthew tore the roof off their Flagler Beach home — soaking it to the core — in October 2016, Beth and Joel Boyles were heartbroken.
“We were just kind of like in shock, so we moved to my parent’s house for six weeks,” Beth Boyles said. “At the time, we had a new baby; my son was 9 months old. I was so devastated because even to this day he never got to have his nursey. We had just remodeled our whole entire house, literally.”
Thoughts ran through Beth Boyles’ mind: “What do we do? Do we remodel it? But it’s still at a lower elevation. Do we start over?”
“You never really know what something like that is until you go through it,” she said. “I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. It’s horrible. A lot of people say it’s just things, but it’s still your life, and it affects you.”
They decided to tear the house down in April 2017 after obtaining the proper permitting.
Beth, Joel and his 24-year-old son, Ethan Boyles, went to work to begin the foundation of their new home. Soon after the footers were dug, Hurricane Irma ravaged through Flagler Beach in September 2017 — completely flooding their progress and delaying them about 90 days to dig and survey again.
“My husband is a contractor,” Beth Boyles said. “Irma affected all of our neighbors. Pretty much all these people got flooded out, so not only was our lives in shamble again, it was really hard because everybody needed him too.”
In a period of 11 months, the couple and their then-less-than- 1-year-old son, Daxon Boyles, moved six times in between rental homes and Beth Boyles’ parents’ home in Palm Coast.
“It’ll be two years in October since we’ve actually lived in a house, had a home, not living out of containers,” she said. “It has been crazy.”
But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. The Boyles hope to move into to their new home in two to three months.
“(We are) ready to be in a house,” Beth Boyles said. “Just ready to have a bed, ready to not be eating off paper plates, just ready to be normal. We haven’t had a normal life in so long; it’s been so hard.”
The pair isn’t taking any chances with their new home, as they’ve constructed it above and beyond the new, mandatory elevation levels.
Joel Boyles said the home has roof shingles resistant to high winds, hurricane impact windows, is eight feet above sea level and has a whole-house generator that will kick on quickly if there is a power outage.
“We had already started building this house before Irma came,” Beth Boyles said. “And we just had this conversation last night, it is scary for me because it’s like now, we’re actually getting to build our dream house, exactly the way we want it. (Joel is) able to do it, and it’s just scary. We should be fine, but, then again, you never know.”