Hurricane Florence
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To Those Who Helped During Florence

There is no possible way to say thank you to everyone that helped before, during and after Hurricane Florence.

To Those Who Helped During Florence
Jo Ellen Sloan

Hurricane Florence came to my hometown in North Carolina on the night of September 13, 2018. Winds blew, rain was thrown around, tornado warnings filled my home, and yet there were men and women working endless hours to help my state and the surrounding areas. I would like to take this time and personally thank you all for every moment you put in to restore my state to what it was before the storm came.

First, let me just say THANK YOU GOD and JESUS for turning down the strength of the hurricane! We were listed to be hit with a category four, maybe even five, but by God's will, it was only a two which died down to a one. He kept our families safe and together during the storm while he kept all of the men and women who helped out during the storm calm and brave. Thank you, Lord, for all of you many blessings and for you arms around us during this difficult time in our lives.

Before the storm made its appearance, we heard that NYPD, FDNY and New York's Task Force were making their way to North Carolina before Hurricane Florence would make landfall. Being from a small town and hearing that NYPD (which is miles away) is coming to help us made me feel a little more nervous about this storm severity. However, now that the storm has passed, I am so grateful that they were able to help us in our time of need!

Many states began to send as many different teams as they possibly could to our aid. States that are North Carolina's neighbors and even far off states such as California and Ohio made their way over to lend a hand.

Lineman rolled out once we began to lose power while the rain was still rushing in which put many of their lives in danger. To the lineman that were hurt during this, I pray that you have a speedy recovery and thank you for your service for our community. I know many people were worried about our power being restored, but I knew that you all would come to our rescue as soon as you were able. You had a lot of ground to cover and some areas were very difficult compared to others due to flooding, winds, rain, and even snakes! I hope you all are able to return home safe and sound to your loved ones and receive some well-deserved rest.

To our police, sheriff deputies, state troopers, and everyone involved in our law enforcement, a special thank you for keeping us safe during this time. You made sure roads were safe to travel and told us when they were no longer able to be crossed. You worked endless hours for days on end away from your families just to protect everyone else's families. Sometimes you had to stand eating your meals while still directing traffic just so you could get a bite in and sometimes had to sleep in random places just to catch a few zzz's.

Not once did I hear any of you complain. You were all as nice as you could be and smiled to ensure we would be okay when some of us were unsure. You helped rescue those who needed it and helped traffic flow more smoothly. Not to mention going around to make sure everyone who was in an evacuation zone was out of danger. You stepped up to the plate for our state and we truly appreciate you.

Hurricanes always bring the most convoys to our area which is no surprise since we live by so many bases. Our country's military has helped our state countless of times during hurricanes and they showed up again for this one! As everyone was headed away from the storm, you all were headed straight for it to help the American people. Bringing us supplies especially once the river cut off southern Lenoir County from surrounding areas. We watched your helicopters fly over our small hometown as your men and women rushed in to help those who were in flood zones or in need.

Once we were able to see the news, we saw countless videos of the military working with other organizations to rescue people from flood zones. There were some areas that were not expected to flood that were and you all were right there in the action trying to rescue as many people and animals as you possibly could. Thank you!

To all of the volunteer fire departments, paramedics, EMS, and first responders, I know you all were very busy the second the storm started from trees falling onto people's houses, cars were taken by rushing water or fallen roads, generator accidents and so on. Many of you spent your nights sleeping on a cot in a place that was not in your home but with your other family.

I truly appreciate everything you do for your community on a normal night, but especially on nights where many of your town's citizens were scared of the storm that seemed to be hovering over us. Through tornado warnings, floods, and other emergency situations, you were on call and ready to jump in the truck in a heartbeat. Your community and state thank you tremendously.

Southern Lenoir county had to be quick on its feet before the rising of the Neuse river cut us off completely like it did during Hurricane Matthew. South Lenoir High School graciously hosted a field hospital to be set up on their campus so that anyone on our side of the river would be able to access medical help if they so need it.

This field hospital was no joke, either! I heard about some of the cases they have had to face and they are top notch for the situation they are in! Thank you to South Lenoir for hosting this medical need in our area! Thank you to all of the doctors, nurses, medical staff, and volunteers that are here to make life a little easier during the flood! We are overjoyed to have you here and are grateful that you are!

We have had some emergencies that may not have gone as well if you were not here, so thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

Many churches have become shelters or have provided supplies and food to those affected by Hurricane Florence. This brought out a lot of volunteers in the community. Red Cross set up disaster relief stations along with other organizations across North Carolina. Those who no longer had a place to call home, were evacuated, or just were unable to get home truly needed you and you took time out of your own busy schedule to help. The organizations and churches would have been unable to function as quickly and proficiently without your help. Thank you for your dedication to your community and thank you for your kindness.

There were many government officials and organizations that also helped us during our troubling time. I know especially in our community, Mr. J Mac Daughety was our resource to go to for updates on the hurricane, road conditions, "what's going on" moments, and our eagle eye for the Neuse River.

Many Kinston officials and boards were able to help out as well especially when the river rose a lot faster than anticipated across highway 70. They were able to get the word out that if we lived in the southern area of our county that we needed to get home as soon as possible because they were not sure how long exactly we had. NCDot was able to keep us up to date on road closings and dangerous roads that were not safe to travel on as we tried to navigate our way around to get to certain locations.

President Trump flew down to help pass out plates of food and to see what damages were done by Hurricane Florence. I think he brought a lot of smiles to peoples faces that have not smiled the past couple of days. It was a nice change to see everyone's face when they saw President Trump himself or saw him going by in his car with all of his security vehicles surround his to keep him safe. Thank you to all of you involved that kept us informed, up to date, and helped out where ever you could during this time!

I know there are thousands of more people that were involved in rescuing the Carolinas during Hurricane Florence. I just want to thank every single one of you and let you know how truly grateful we are that you came during a dangerous time. We do not know what we would have done without your sacrifice and service!

We pray that you will be able to return home safe and sound to your loved ones. Thank you truly from the bottom of our hearts and may God bless you and your families!

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