Local News

Seven Springs Seniors Face Flood Damage With Limited Resources

Posted September 29, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— The state estimates that 100,000 senior citizens were affected by Hurricane Floyd and the flooding. About a third of those people experienced serious losses, and the residents of Seven Springs know just how serious.

The oldest part of Wayne County has a large elderly population. Senior citizens account for 80 percent of Seven Springs' population, and many have been left stranded by flooding from Floyd.

Most of the people who live in the village have lived there their entire lives.

They lost all of their possessions and are facing this transitional time on a fixed income.

When flood waters swept through 75-year-old Geneva Dawson's home, they swept away 50 years of memories.

"Lots and lots of family history has all gone down the drain," said Dawson.

Some have family they can go to for help, but others do not.

Dawson's children are helping her sort through a lifetime of possessions. They feel their mother's pain.

"To go through all this at this time is a bad thing," said Kay Holmes, Dawson's daughter.

Seven Springs Mayor Jewel Kilpatrick is one of the senior citizens left homeless by the hurricane.

"I don't know what in the world I'm going to do. I think my house is probably destroyed," Kilpatrick said. "I have no idea what FEMA's going to do either. And I'm by myself. My children are here, but you can't depend on your children to help you buy another home or -- it's just, it's terrible."

The mayor is also very concerned about her neighbors.

"I saw these women coming out riding in the truck with all their belongings in the back of that truck. That is an awful thing to see," said Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick's biggest concern is that Seven Springs will turn into a ghost town, and she does not want that to happen. She wants the government to help the seniors rebuild the tight-knit community.

TheNorth Carolina Division of Aginghas received a $78,000 grant from the federal government. They plan to start dispersing that money next week to senior citizens who need it.