Local News

Raleigh Volunteers Help in Floyd Cleanup

Posted October 1, 1999

— Volunteers are wiping out images of Hurricane Floyd's devastation. But those images have been motivating strangers to roll up their sleeves and help.

Some Raleigh residents spent Saturday helping clean out houses victimized by Floyd.

Everything 92-year-old Walter Johnson owned was destroyed by the flooding. The task of cleaning up was too big for him to handle alone, so Missy Dickens and seven of her friends traveled from Raleigh to help Johnson.

"I think it's just a gift from God to send someone to take care of a stranger like that," says Johnson.

The volunteers say they just wanted to do something to help.

"My heart was breaking and I didn't know what to do," says Dickens. "And I wanted to do something. I was tired of feeling helpless."

Dickens says she was so moved by the stories that she sent e-mail to her friends and asked them to help.

David Turner and his wife Frances also wanted to help. They loaded up their truck with donations they collected in Raleigh and handed them out to flood victims in Tarboro.

"We just brought down a load from Raleigh of cleaning supplies, brooms, mops, toys, candy for the kids and some adults and just to see if there's anything we can do to help and that's it," says Frances Turner.

Members of the North Carolina State soccer team volunteered their time entertaining children at a shelter, where 200 people are still living.

The visit was a welcome diversion for kids who have been cooped up for two weeks.

"We've been seeing on the news how much devastation there was, so we decided that we needed to come down," says volunteer Jeremy Ballenger.

With plenty of work left to do in Tarboro for weeks to come, residents say help from volunteers should make the road to recovery a little easier.

"I encourage anybody to try and do it," says David Turner. "Just drive up here -- it's only 50 miles from Raleigh. Do something for the people ad make yourself feel good."

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