Hurricane Florence left her mark on Brunswick County. Numerous families lost everything they owned due to devastating, unprecedented flooding. Others saw significant damage to their homes due to toppled trees.
First, I’d like to talk about the response effort during the storm. Our County staff, emergency services personnel, Sheriff’s Office, fire departments, and municipal staffs and police departments worked tirelessly during the storm. We planned ahead, but no plan survives contact with the enemy, and this was a storm like no other in our County’s recent history. While I have no doubt that we can always find ways to improve for the future, I am extremely proud of the response efforts during the storm.
Now that the storm has passed, we have moved into damage assessment and recovery. The power companies worked tirelessly to restore electricity. Brunswick County Public Utilities worked diligently to restore water and sewer service to areas where it was lost. The N.C. Department of Transportation is working to repair roads damaged in what was nothing less than a statewide event. It has been all hands on deck throughout, and there are SO many more people and groups who deserve recognition and thanks for there efforts.
Countless non-profits and faith-based organizations, including many from other states and even other nations, have been on the ground in Brunswick County, working to help those who were affected by Florence. I’ve had the opportunity to meet volunteers from ISRAEL and CANADA who were here, giving of themselves to help our community. I am grateful for their servant’s hearts.
Political leaders of all partisan persuasions have put aside their differences and come to our County to help and encourage our citizens. In the past two weeks, I’ve met with Congressman David Rouzer, Governor Roy Cooper, and Lara Trump, all of whom were boots-on-the-ground in Brunswick County. Brunswick County’s storm recovery is not and should never be a political football for anyone from either major party (more on that in personal note #2).
Moving forward, it is important for all of us understand that this recovery will be a marathon, not a sprint. There is no magic pill to put what Florence tore apart back together overnight. It will not be easy, it will take time, and it will require patience. But we will get through it, because we are #BrunscoStrong.
While FEMA is on the ground in Brunswick County, I encourage everyone to have realistic expectations about what they can and will deliver and when it will happen. I’m still learning about FEMA’s processes, but citizens should not assume that FEMA will make them whole.
In closing, one of the things that has inspired me the most during this storm are the images and stories of people helping people. A man who went out during the storm, while the wind was still blowing, to help a neighbor put a tarp on their damaged roof. A couple in Stoney Creek who felt a calling to be a positive influence and support for their entire neighborhood, even though their own home took on six feet of water. Countless citizens volunteering for groups like Brunswick Family Assistance. A local business giving away storm supplies at their location.These are the people who make Brunswick County strong, and they are why we will come through this stronger than we were before. #BrunscoStrong