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Despite Long Hours, Volunteers Draw Strength from the People They Help

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TARBORO — Everywhere you look, people are volunteering, giving their all, to help flood victims get back on their feet.

Civilians and soldiers have been putting in long hours, helping those in need. It may seem like a high price to pay, but for many, the rewards are high as well.

Thursday, soldiers were busy delivering water, a precious commodity, to grateful Edgecombe County residents. They have been doing it tirelessly since Floyd roared through last week.

For many, the day starts at 7 a.m. and does not end until 11 p.m. The soldiers say they draw their strength from the people they help.

"They are always glad to see you pulling in in these little, small towns. You see them waving and everything. It really makes your heart start busting real good to know you are doing something good," says SPC Jason Taylor of the National Guard.

One soldier says he worked about 65 hours in three days. Logging those kind of hours is bound to cause a little friction.

"Our tempers tend to flare a little bit, but we've got a really good group, and they are in good spirits, mostly because they can see the good they're doing in this region," says Maj. Chris Johnson of the National Guard.

Frank Richardson of Georgia sees the rewards of being a volunteer firsthand. He helps serve 16,00 meals a day at the Tarboro High School shelter.

"Today we worked 12 hours. Depending on the meal count, tomorrow we may be here 16 to 18 hours. We just don't know when we get up in the morning when we'll get back to bed," he says.

The volunteers at Tarboro High School work three- to four-day shifts so no one ever gets too tired. A new group from Georgia comes to town every few days.

Everyone says they are happy to help those in need despite the long hours.