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Sanford Lowe's kicks off event to benefit American Red Cross

Posted April 11, 2012

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— The Lowe's Home Improvement store in Sanford has represented many things in the last year. On April 16, 2011, it was one of the most visible symbols of the damage caused by an EF3 tornado that tore through Lee County. 

In September, the store became a symbol of resilience and hope when it reopened just five months after it was destroyed. 

Beginning Wednesday, the store hopes to become an example as it marks the one year anniversary of the storm by kicking off a campaign designed to give back to an organization the helped it rebuild.

The store will host a "Give Back, Pay it Forward" event until April 18 to benefit the American Red Cross, an organization that responded in a big way after the storms devastated the area. 

The store will collect donations throughout the week, and Red Cross representatives will be in the store Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to talk about preparing for disasters. On Monday, exactly one year after the storm, the American Red Cross will be hosting a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Donations can also be made online through the American Red Cross website.

Red Cross volunteers set up shop in Sanford in the days after the storm, serving food and packing snacks for families who lost everything in the storm. The Red Cross helped 581 families and provided more than $500,000 in direct financial assistance to families impacted by the storms.

"That night, for me, I remember them (the Red Cross) being here in an hour, getting us supplies, getting anything we needed," said Lowe's store manager Mike Hollowell. "We are trying to do that for them and help the community any way we can."

When the store reopened in September, bands played, people danced and hundreds of people, possibly as man as 1,000, came out to celebrate.

More than 100 employees and customers were in the store when the tornado ripped the steel roof off the building. No one was seriously hurt, thanks to the quick action of Hollowell and his staff who moved everyone to the back of the store, where there are no windows.

While repairs were being made, Lowe's transferred all 160 workers from the Sanford store to other stores across the region, providing transportation for them to Pittsboro, Cary, Fayetteville, Chapel Hill, Southern Pines, Smithfield, Clayton, Erwin, Apex, Mebane, Laurinburg and Durham.

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  • mmtlash Apr 11, 2012

    Lowes has proved over the past year that they are a great company imo

  • mirasey Apr 11, 2012

    I remember that day like it was yesterday. My daughter and I decided to go to CB Resturant first before going to Lowes.
    All of a sudden I got a phone call from my sister advising me a tornado is heading our way. I stood up at the resturant and Calmly told everyone to go to the bathrooms, that a tornado is on it way to our location. Thank God it didn't hit us but seeing the after effects of the tornado at Lowes. I was there helping EMS, since I used to run for EMS, checking for fatalities, helping people, bandaging the hurt one,,it was a very sad day, lost a good friend that day,,He was engaged to be married and unfortunately the tornado went straight thru that housing development and he did not survive. I thought hurricane Fran did some damaged,,this was really bad, on HWY 42 a horse farm was hit and they lost some horses,,couldn't even go down that road bcos it was blocked with trees on the highway.
    Alot of people lives changed that day.

  • orionsteve Apr 11, 2012

    Give to the Red Cross any chance you get. They are truly one of the good guys in the charity community. You will also see them at every major house / building fire in the area, and at all hours, to lend a hand in aiding displaced families. Just a great organization.

  • ctnorris2011 Apr 11, 2012

    Being a Sanford resident I saw the devistation first hand and infact my husband and I were in the Sanford Lowes 45 minutes before the storm hit. You cannot imagine the damage that Lee County suffered unless you witnessed it first hand. Our community banded together to help those who lost everything and the Red Cross and the Baptist Men's Association were a huge part of that effort. Even a year later you can see the devestation and where people are still rebuilding.

  • southerntalent Apr 11, 2012

    The Red Cross was driving thru our neighborhood in Raleigh giving out hot meals a couple days after the tornados while we had no power. The baptist men were also out helping tarp roofs. I would give to either of them they are 2 good groups.

  • newlifetupper Apr 11, 2012

    Thanks Lowes for being there for the community. Even though I do not live there--am glad to see a company that cares for its employees like this--it used to be the norm but is now the exception!!!!!!!!!! Thanks again----RMGRANDMA

  • rlsmith5 Apr 11, 2012

    This is great for the Sanford area. Lowe's really made the right choice when they made Mike Hollowell the manager of this store.

  • rlsmith5 Apr 11, 2012

    This is great. Sanford Lowes is very lucky to have a store manager like Mike Hollowell. Just talking with him you see the right choice Lowes made in making this young man a store manager.