Kinston family remains resilient after losing everything in Matthew

Posted October 15, 2016 11:13 p.m. EDT
Updated October 16, 2016 8:18 a.m. EDT

— The Neuse River in Kinston reached record high levels this week and is not expected to drop below major flood stage until next week.

On Saturday, Jonett Dixon and Tony Swinson spent another night in a local shelter at Kinston High School. They both said learning the painful lesson of losing everything has been extremely challenging.

"I completely gave up this morning," Dixon said. "Calling different people, getting redirected to another line...another line."

Hurricane Matthew forced their family out of their home on Lincoln Street. The trunk of their car is filled with water-logged clothes and damaged keepsakes, things they rushed to save in the floodwaters.

The front of their car is now filled with donations.

"I got pillows, went to Walmart got a whole bunch of stuff. My kids were sitting in the back seat of the car with no clothes on," Dixon said. "I made sure they had some brand new clothes and shoes."

Swinson said the family didn't even have gas.

"They filled our tank up with gas, took us to Goldsboro, fed us, and got all the kids clothed," he said.

Ann Johnson, who is also living in the shelter, said she just wants to return home to assess the damage.

"I just kind of feel lost right now, loss for words. You kind of feel like you don't have anything and you're just starting all over again," she said.

Though the Neuse River's floodwaters have slowly begun top recede, the damage is staggering. Nearly $1.5 billion statewide.

But through the loss and heartbreak there is gratitude.

"From nothing to just having people embrace you and have to have something," Dixon said.