Residents of Sampson County have seen their fair share of disaster over the last eight months, beginning with the floods from Hurricane Matthew in October, to damaged homes and buildings from tornadoes and strong winds in the last two weeks.
In reaction to the recent devastation, Duke Energy has donated funds for use in disaster preparedness and response.
“Duke Energy has made a significant contribution to bolster Sampson County’s ability to provide disaster response,” a press release from the county manager’s office stated.
In the aftermath of tornadoes and destructive storms which damaged the fire department and residences in Autryville and then just days later wreaked havoc on residences and agricultural structures along highways 421 and 701 north, the electrical company has given the county a $5,000 donation.
“Emergency responders have been on the front lines in Sampson County helping families and the community recover and rebuild from the devastating severe weather they’ve experienced,” John Elliott, Duke Energy director of government and community relations, said. “Our thoughts are with the community and we are proud to make a $5,000 donation to the county to support their response efforts and the Autryville Fire Department.”
According to Susan Holder, assistant county manager, the $5,000 donation from Duke Energy will be utilized to purchase a trailer which will be used to transport supplies and materials around the county following devastation and destruction, much like that brought by Hurricane Matthew and the recent storms.
Following Hurricane Matthew, more than 2,000 residents registered for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which distributed close to $2 million locally, and $80 million statewide.
A tornado that hit the western portion of the county in mid May, leveling the Autryville Fire Department and causing damage to several homes, was followed a week later with what the weather service called straight-line winds. Those winds caused extensive damage, flipping and destroying several mobile homes and agricultural structures like turkey and hog houses.
Thursday’s donation, according to county officials, couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.
“In a county our size, where multiple communities can be simultaneously impacted in single weather event, getting emergency preparedness supplies such as shelter materials and generators to facilities in advance of storms and then getting relief supplies such as water and food to communities after a storm is a huge undertaking that necessitates many resources,” Emergency Management Services director Ronald Bass said. “In this summer severe weather season and as we approach hurricane season, we are particularly grateful for the generosity of companies such as Duke Energy which enable us to serve all of our communities rapidly and efficiently.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.