Locals shine in times of disaster

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 20, 2018

I was talking to a friend who works at Food Lion the other day, and he said he had seen folks he probably won’t see again for months. They had purchased that much food.

A woman at checkout was watching all of the people with bottle after bottle of water (myself included). She calmly said: “Don’t they know you can turn on the tap?”

Yes, storms and the threat of storms, put us into a different mode. It’s not bad, just interesting, and often unnecessary. Being prepared for a storm doesn’t mean you have to stock up enough food to last for months. Around here, it’s usually only a few days, but can be longer, especially in the case of ice storms.

It’s different on the coast, as we are now realizing. While your community may be fine, getting there can be the problem.

Like many people, I was glued to the television watching Hurricane Florence coverage for more hours than I like to admit. But to my defense, I did have a brother, sister-in-law, a niece, a nephew, and great-nieces and nephews who rode out the storm in Morehead City. Like most locals there, they were prepared (They needed to buy all of that water and food at the grocery.) My wife has an aunt, cousin and nephews who also rode out the storm in Morehead City. Another cousin rode it out on Atlantic Beach.

The good news: all are fine. The bad news: my niece and her family and my wife’s cousin and her family no longer have homes to live in. My niece in Newport was likely the victim of flooding. My wife’s cousin had a tree fall on their house early in the storm in Morehead. Then the rain poured in — and poured in. Totals were well over 20 inches for the entire area.

I think those of us who aren’t in the storm — just watching the talking heads on TV — worry more than those who are there. Merle Haggard called those talking heads, “cackalacky heads in a box … scaring me out of my socks.”  Evacuate was all they could say, when many of us have relatives who aren’t going to evacuate no matter the circumstance. They’re home, and they’re staying with their home. Salt water flows through their veins. Storms are common. They’re tough. Heck, if Jim Cantore can ride it out at the water’s edge, surely they can make it inside a house.

We don’t like to admit it, but we can survive without electricity, although I have a great-niece who is going through her longest period without air conditioning. Don’t ask her how it is unless you want to have your head snapped off.

I saw a couple at a Mocksville restaurant from Oak Island. They were staying with friends here during the storm. Carolina Bible Camp opened its housing to evacuees from the Jacksonville area.

While binge-watching hurricane coverage, I saw a reporter from WRAL talking about a water rescue going on in Harnett County. I wasn’t surprised, but I recognized two Davie County volunteers escorting a woman whose vehicle had been swept off the road — and then she was swept downstream. It was dark, and the Davie County Swift Water Rescue Team was sent to the scene. Risking their own lives, they saved two people there, and I’m sure there are already more saves under their belts. Remember, these are volunteers. They’re away from their families, their jobs, their friends, their lives.

Thank you, not only from us, but from everyone in the state. You go where you’re needed, when you’re needed, right into the face of the most dangerous situations.

The Davie County Sheriff’s Department sent a team to Brunswick County, where they are helping local law enforcement. The Davie brigade included animal control, and they’re helping on the roads and at a shelter that accepts pets. They may be there a while. The roads behind them washed out.

Again, thank you.

I’m sure there are more and more instances where Davie folks are standing up to help. Black Lotus Tattoo and Piercing in Bermuda Run started early, already collecting water to be sent where it needs to go.

In the coming weeks and months, people will need help — and plenty of it. Do what you can. Many will need manpower. Some will need a place to live. Find a charity or effort you trust, and do what you can.

The next disaster, it could be you.