Kindness Triumphs Over Hurricane Florence In North Carolina

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"We've fled our share of Hurricanes. We're all in this life together. And we only have each other to rely on," said North Carolina resident who opened his house for strangers.

 

Tropical Storm Florence dumped "epic" amounts of rain on North and South Carolina as it trudged inland over the weekend, knocking out power and causing at least eight deaths as flood waters that have devastated many communities kept rising.

Though the relentless rains continue to pound the parts of the state, what’s noteworthy is how the vicious storm is being met by powerful acts of kindness and compassion.

Here are some of the most heartwarming stories of residents of the storm-ravaged state who are actively helping those in need in this dark hour. 

A Retired MarineTo The Rescue

A retired Marine named Jason Weinmann, residing in the riverfront city of New Bern near the North Carolina coast, had his hulking military transport vehicle tucked away for years. But, the 47-year-old decided to put his decade-old vehicle to use when the Florence hit his state.

"That's why I got this thing," he said. "To use in times like this."

Weinmann transported around 10 people out of flooded neighborhoods and delivered them to a shelter.

Strangers Opening Doors For Strangers

It’s heartwarming to see how many people opened their doors for people fleeing storm without any hesitation.

In recent days, there has been a surge in posts on Facebook groups, such as Hurricane Florence 2018 and Hurricane Florence Lodging For Evacuees, where organizations and residents have welcomed strangers to their homes.

"We've fled our share of Hurricanes," said Robert Riker, who lives with his family live in Waynesville, North Carolina. "And we know the cost of staying in a hotel and having to eat out can quickly add up at a time when anxiety, fear and uncertainty is high. We just want to offer some relief to someone who has greater worries going on in their life than I do. We're all in this life together. And we only have each other to rely on."

North Carolina Woman Teams Up With Walmart

 

A North Carolina woman, Shelli Tench, got to know that a local shelter was running out of T-shirts and underwear for evacuees in a nearby shelter. Without wasting any time, Tench headed to the Walmart in Garner, which was the only super store open at the time.

Tench might have had a big heart but she was a little low on funds– with only $50 to spend, the woman asked the manager, Jeff Jobes, if he could offer any discounts for the donations.

As it turns out, Jobes wanted to give more than just a discount.

"Instead, he armed me with one of his associates (Alex) and a shopping cart and told her to fill it...on him," Tench wrote on Facebook.

The Walmart and the woman together donated more than $1,250 worth of clothing to evacuees at the nearby Garner High shelter.

The next day, the manager got in touch with Tench again and inquired what else the evacuees needed.

"I text the list to Jeff and his response was, 'Give me 30 minutes, then come see me,'" Tench said.

"When I got to the store, manager Jeff and his co-manager Kelly were busy pulling together the items that were requested," she continued. "They didn't donate bags of fresh fruit. They donated case after case after case after case of apples and oranges and bananas and Ensure and Boost and Gatorade and Cliff bars and pastries and bread and cookies. My van was loaded to the top."

 

Help For Our Fur Friends

It’s not just the residents who are in danger from the fast-moving storm–the four-legged fur animals are equally exposed to it and need just as much protection.

Fortunately, a couple of brave animal lovers are doing their part in making sure the North Carolina dogs aren’t left behind in the floodwaters of Florence.

After the storm had subsided a bit, two men named Brent Scott and Sam Woodman drove from Maine to rescue animals that might have been abandoned by their owners. Luckily, they came across a black-and-white female pit bull who was found soaked, sitting alone on a porch in South Lumberton, North Carolina.

However, what’s even more heartwarming was how the dog felt about its rescuers. It expressed its gratitude by excitedly licking their faces and wagging its tail relentlessly.

“She was so appreciative to see us,” Scott told HuffPost of the abandoned pit bull.

“These people [in the neighborhood] weren’t even going to take her,” he added. “They just were ignoring her, and we said, ‘Well, we’ll take her now.’”

However, the sweet pup in question wasn’t the only animal the pair saved. They have been on the mission to aid abandoned animals since the beginning of the destructive weather.

“Responsible people take their dogs or at the very least leave their contact information around their neck,” said the 37-year-old man who, along with his friend, also delivered pet food to hotels in the state where the families were seeking shelters along with their animals.

Fortunately, apart from the duo, there are more such kind-hearted people who are not just thinking about their safety.

Freelance reporter Marcus DiPaola rescued six dogs in in Leland, North Carolina, after their owner apparently left them in a locked cage, which was quickly getting filled by the floodwater.

 

Another North Carolina resident, Ali Standish, shared a moving picture of a queue of people patiently waiting to foster dogs at Saving Grace, a shelter for pets. Unfortunately, the shelter homes along the coast were unable to evacuate because they had to look after other people’s precious pets.

However, Standish’s thoughtful gesture inspired a lot of others who also came forward to keep strangers’ dogs safe at such a turbulent time.

 

Moreover, a North Carolina pastor and two members of his church, who were out in search for people who might need some help, stumbled upon some four-legged creatures who needed assistance.

 

According to the forecasters, significant portions of North and South Carolina are still vulnerable to flash flooding due to the hurricane which was downgraded to a tropical depression this weekend. It’s extremely important that, at a time like this, our fur friends are not left behind to face the potential devastating consequences of one of the life-threatening storm.

Banner Image Credits: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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