Local News

Orange County Volunteers Commit to Rebuild Town

Posted October 29, 1999

— The mark of Hurricane Floyd is still all over the town of Speed.

One hundred families -- just about everyone that lives there -- lost their homes. The town still does not have safe drinking water, and many people believe the town cannot recover without help from their neighbors.

Help is coming in from all over the state.

A bus load of volunteers from Orange County made the trek. But their mission is more than a clean-up, it's a commitment.

"We are six weeks after the flood," says Barbara Ziff. "And people still aren't back in their houses. It's just really really tragic."

Ziff is one of the volunteers from Chapel Hill and Carrboro who are adopting the community of Speed and providing the much-needed manpower to the relief effort.

"Can you imagine if you had to go to your own home and pick up every single thing that you owned and decided, 'Yes I want this,' or 'No I've got to throw this out,'" says Ziff. "I think it would take me weeks and weeks to do something we're able to do in a half a day."

Speed resident William Myers thought it would take his family months to strip their house, but two dozen strangers got the job done in one day.

"It's just something else," says Myers. "There's a whole lot of things going on in this world that you don't realize just how nice people are until something like this happens."

Some Speed residents say they are interested in a FEMA buyout; others say they are going to rebuild. But whatever they do, it will going to be a very long process.

And the Orange County volunteers, who say they plan to spend a lot of time helping out in Speed over the next couple of months, urge others to do the same.

"If the towns of North Carolina would just adopt a community to help, or if a church would adopt a family -- that's just the only way this thing's going to ever end," says Jeanne Robertson, who drove to Hickory with her husband Jeff to deliver supplies to flood victims. "If you did that small effort, it would make the big picture come together."

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