Local News

N.C. Residents Give Floridians Helping Hand To Deal With Frances

Posted September 3, 2004 5:17 a.m. EDT

— Communities hit hard but Hurricane Floyd are gearing up to help people in Florida. Hurricane Frances has not made landfall yet, but some are already collecting supplies.

People in eastern North Carolina know what Floridians are going through. In 1999, Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd put some towns in North Carolina underwater. For victims of the flood, five years ago seems like yesterday.

"It was more rain then I had ever seen in all the days of my life. It was very scary," resident Gwendolyn Wigen said.

Floodwaters swallowed Wigen's home. She lost everything.

"It almost made me cry. My mama went in there with me and she did cry," she said.

People in Edgecombe and Nash Counties know about that pain, and they are reaching out to people bracing for another hit. Emergency and county officials launched a two-week drive to collect supplies for victims of Hurricanes Charley and Frances.

Rocky Mount Assistant Fire Chief Keith Harris said volunteers from Florida helped the community when people needed it most.

"We feel like it's time now to repay the debt," he said. "They're in that imminent needs situation right now where people don't have the basic necessities of life down there," he said.

Volunteers are loading trucks to send south, donating things such as water, food and baby diapers.

"Having had that experience when something like that happens, you need help and whereever it comes from, it'll be great," Wigen said.

People who live in Nash and Edgecombe counties have been following the path of Hurricane Frances very closely this week, especially because the Tar River levels are already very high.

A local company donated a truck and driver to get all the supplies from eastern North Carolina to Florida. Crews plan to leave from Rocky Mount on Sept. 16, the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Floyd.