NC National Guard aiding in SC flood recovery
Posted October 10, 2015 7:18 p.m. EDT
Updated October 10, 2015 10:43 p.m. EDT
Rockingham, N.C. — More than 545 North Carolina National Guard members have headed to flood-ravaged South Carolina to assist with recovery efforts.
About 100 soldiers in the 881st Engineer Company left Saturday from the armory in Rockingham and went to a National Guard camp near Columbia, S.C., where they will get assignments that could take them anywhere in the state. The soldiers will stay as long as needed to repair roads, shore up dams and clear debris.
It's the largest deployment of the state's National Guard since Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
Sgt. C.J. Price got the call Thursday, so he left his full-time bank job in Asheville and reported for duty at the Rockingham armory.
"I wanted to go. I wanted to go. I was ready for the call. I already had my bags packed and everything. I was ready," Price, 27, said Saturday. "It makes me feel proud to be in the National Guard. This is what we're meant to do. We're meant to help people, help our communities."
Many of the Guardsmen have gone to Afghanistan and Iraq previously. Deploying so close to home is different for Staff Sgt. Mark Anthony Slater of Fayetteville.
"To know we're helping out here in the U.S.A., that makes us proud," Slater said.
"My heart went out to the people," Price said. "I know they’re suffering down there, and we just want to do everything we can to help them out."
The 881st is experienced in building bridges and tearing down obstacles.
"Our job is normally heavy equipment, working with roads and construction," Price said.
Sixteen years ago, South Carolina National Guard members headed north to help eastern North Carolina rebuild after Hurricane Floyd, so Capt. Mike Thomas of Mebane said he feels duty-bound to help his neighbors to the south.
"They helped us a out a great deal during Hurricane Floyd, so we're happy to return the favor and be a good neighbor to them," Thomas said.