The Brockintons pictured in the only room that wasn't gutted. It had been refurbished with all non-toxic products and floored with formaldehyde-free wood.When the remediators pulled up the bathroom tile, they found that the subfloor around the toilet had rotted.All rooms in the Brockintons' home are gutted except for the bedroom that the family is pictured in.The Brockintons say Isaiah would sometimes wake with his eyes puffy from allergies.

Community helps family rebuild home

Kaelyn Cashman's picture
Kaelyn Cashman

Eight years after moving into their new home in Greer, Ashley and Sam Brockinton found themselves rebuilding.

Parents of five children, the Brockinton’s recently discovered extensive mold damage in their home that turned their lives upside down.

“We were living in southwest Florida,” said Ashley Brockinton, who grew up in Tennessee.

“We wanted to move and Greer/Greenville had it all: more diversity, better weather, beautiful nature, much better home prices (in 2014), more friendly people, the arts, good food, better school” she said. “We moved because we fell in love with the area.”

It didn’t take long for the family to settle in.

“When we first moved here we tried to get as involved as we could for a family with five kids (with two of them being infants),” she said. “We joined a church and a small group, got involved with fitness, joined a local homeschool co-op (and then public school).”

Ashley helped run the community garden at the Grace Taylors campus, and Sam is part of F3, a men’s fitness group.

“We love the Farmers Market in downtown Greer and playing at the park downtown,” Brockinton said. “Olivia, our 14 year old, was part of a theater production at the Greer Arts Center."

“The restaurants and the events that the downtown area hosts are amazing,” she said. “We also love just living in our neighborhood in Greer. We love that it is basically 15 minutes away from everything, that our kids have so many friends to play with close by, and that there are places to walk/run and ride bikes.”

Finding the problem

Within one year of living in the home, a few symptoms within the family members began to appear but remained a mystery until February 2022 when the family noticed floorboards under the refrigerator swelling and a strong odor of mold; then, a specialist was brought in to confirm extensive mold in the floorboards throughout the home, and an ERMI test came back with a score of 38.4 rather than under zero.

“We can’t afford to hire contractors,” Brockinton said. “We are outsourcing plumbing and electric and the waterproofing of our showers but attempting to do the rest ourselves.”

“The remediation (removal of the mold) alone was over $30,000, and that was just to end up with a gutted home,” she said. “Our insurance had a mold cap of $5,000, so that is all they paid. We had to pay for two months in a hotel that we weren’t reimbursed for, and the re-build for materials alone is estimated to cost us about $90,000—and that’s if we do most of it ourselves. We also had to throw away 80 percent of our belongings because you have to throw away anything porous like sofas, mattresses, pillows, coats, baskets, and anything with a fan/motor that you can’t disassemble and wipe down (like a blow dryer or air fryer).”

During the past five months, a few community members have become aware of the Brockinton’s situation and stepped in to help.

“There was one day, about eight weeks into the ordeal, when we had just learned what the extent of the mold remediation would be and that insurance was not going to pay for more than $5,000,” Brockinton said. “We had already gone through all of our savings and had to move out of the hotel once we were told that insurance wouldn’t pay (originally we were led to believe they would reimburse us).”

“A woman in our neighborhood walked by as she walked her dog and told us that she had heard about our story,” she said. “We had a nice talk. Later that day, I remember researching local campgrounds because we had no place to live anymore. We had basically hit rock bottom. As I was researching the campgrounds and trying to figure out how I was supposed to cook for and feed five kids that need wifi for homework (my job also requires wifi and computer work) and get them all to school on time each morning, I got I call from the lady (who is now a dear dear friend) and she shared that God had put it on her and her husband’s heart very strongly to invite our family of seven to come and live with them. They already had four kids. We had no other options and so we said ‘yes.’ The lady, Nancy Woodruff, and her husband, Chip showed us so much love. They treated us as friends and family and allowed us to stay with them in their basement rooms for two weeks while we figured out our next step.”

Another neighbor, Dana Martin, gathered her church small group, and they came over one or two days and helped to wipe down the Brockinton’s belongings.

“We had to wipe down every crevice and surface of every belonging we wanted to salvage to remove all mold spores and triple wash all clothes,” Brockinton said. “The process of going through every single belonging and doing this took us 2.5 months.”

“We didn’t keep much but to assure you don’t bring mold spores back into your remediated area you have to ‘small particle clean’ everything,” she said.

Three weeks ago, the Brockintons received a donation from a business.

“Three weeks ago, I was laying in my driveway, covered with drywall dust after sanding,” Brockinton said. “Mind you, we have no AC, no toilet, and no chairs in the house anymore, and I was exhausted.”

“A man walked up to me and told me that his parents lived behind us, and he had heard what had happened, and he told me he worked for 84 Lumber and wanted to donate the subfloor and trim we would need to re-build,” she said. “This is such a blessing. We had the downstairs subfloor already replaced, but we thought we would have to wait for a year or two to replace the upstairs because of how expensive it would be and how small our budget is. Having subfloor upstairs will mean the kids will get to move back into their bedrooms sooner.”

Friends have helped with carpooling the kids to school, bringing snacks or lunch to the Brockintons while they work at the house wiping down stuff.

“We were not in debt at all, except for out mortgage before this, and now we have depleted our savings, gone into $40,000 of debt, and are still going to be an estimated $60,000 short,” Brockinton said. “We have spent the last five years trying to figure out why our son was so, so sick and spent so much money on doctors and treatments for him.”

“We are so glad to have finally figured out what made him so sick, but it is really overwhelming to face this giant journey ahead of us,” she said. “When we start to get anxious about the cost and not having all the money we need to re-build or how long it will take the two of us to do this, we remind each other that so far, God has provided just what we need each day. He provided a place to live when we were basically going to be homeless, for the subfloor when we thought that would be a year or two down the road, for an answer to our son’s extreme illness. Why would He stop showing up for us now? We believe that all of this happened for a reason. We believe we are supposed to be vulnerable in sharing our story so that people both don’t feel alone when disaster strikes or things become out of their control. We want people going through a trial that feels like it will never end to have hope. Our trial was actually not losing all we had to mold, it was losing our son (figuratively) to PANS. We begged God for years to heal him and help us find answers, and it was honestly a living hell (google PANS or youtube search it and you understand what I mean). We did not get the answers or the healing for years. Years of being misunderstood, lonely, desperate, and scared because of how severe this disease is. As we now see our son start to heal, we also want parents of kids with mental illness or other diseases to know that there is hope and to keep fighting for answers until you find them. God is a good God, even when it seems like He has deserted you; He is actually giving you an opportunity to go through to see a new part of Him. We went through a season of loss and pain and now–even though we don’t know how we will rebuild our house–we are going through a season of blessing as we see our son start to slowly heal, and we see the kindness of strangers and friends.”

The Brockintons still have many needs to make their home safe for their family.

“We need a large tree removed that is right next to our house because our son usually becomes the most debilitated in the fall when leaves fall and start to decay and mold,” Brockinton said. “We are afraid that even if the mold inside the house is gone that the mold spores and allergens from the leaf debris outside will be enough to cause him to flair.”

Other tasks needed to be done include repairing gutters, soffit, and windows as well as tiling and venting the bathrooms. “Our gutters and soffit are in bad shape,” Brockinton said. “We need them repaired, so water doesn’t leak down into the house in the future; this wasn’t the case, but we want to avoid potential issues.”

“Our windows are old and and need to be repaired,” she said. “I plan on repairing the inside, but we need help and know-how to repair the exterior to, again, prevent future water damage; this was not a source of our water damage/mold but could easily be in the future.”

The Brockintons are looking to use the Schluter System for waterproofing/mold avoidance.

“Vents cut/installed in all of our bathrooms” is another need, Brockinton said. “I guess it wasn’t code back in 1978 to have bathroom vents.”

Some additional needs to make the home functional are kitchen countertops and cabinets; a plumber and electrician; a refrigerator and stove; furniture, finishings and quality mattresses; a paint sprayer/painter; general labor for cutting and laying subfloor, plank floor, tile, painting, mudding, sanding, sealing and more as well as materials like tile or underlayment for plank flooring.

“We are going to be able to salvage some of our cabinets,” Brockinton said.

The Brockintons are also seeking to alert other homeowners.

“We want to put mold toxicity/illness on the radar for residents of Greer,” Brockinton said. “There is a misunderstanding that we had that if you don’t see mold or smell mold that you do not have mold.”

“We had no signs and yet our levels, after running an ERMI test (do not just run an air test—ERMI is the way to go) came back at over 1,000X the normal level,” she said. “Our mold was from a few bathroom leaks from broken connectors behind shower walls that became slow leaks that we had no idea about but mainly from a slow leak in a far corner of our crawl space that not even the first inspector we hired saw (it was found by our wonderful remediation team: Core Environmental) that had created enough moisture to mold our crawl space joists and mold our flooring from the bottom up as well as get into our hvac system because vents from back in the 70s/80s often weren’t sealed. We basically had mold growing under the house and blowing in through our hvac but had no idea (looking back, our house did get dusty really quickly. I figured it was just because we had seven people that were stuck in the house because of the pandemic stuff but now I realize it was the mold spores/mycotoxins).”

Brockinton shared some tips for area homeowners: Run an ERMI on your house; Check to see if you have a mold cap on your insurance; Hire Core Environmental to come inspect your house for mold/leaks; Consider having a consultation with Andy Pace from the Green Design Center to make sure you are making non-toxic home updates; and make sure your home is ventilated (windows open often and you have an air purifier).

Anyone interested in helping the Brockintons or learning more can email them at or text 239-410-6642, and a gofundme has been set up at | 877-2076

The Greer Citizen

317 Trade Street Greer, SC 29651

Phone: 1-864-877-2076

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