The aftermath of Hurricane Matthew has brought out the best and worst in people around Sampson County.
While we could focus on the angry words of people prepared to fight in long gas lines at the few stores open around town or the impatient cries for quicker response to unbelievable power outages across our county and the state, we choose, instead to focus on the compassion, assistance and help offered over the last 48 hours. It is a compassion that reminds us just how great our community is and how quick to respond.
Take what Ribeyes of Clinton, its staff and its owners did Monday, feeding the community with food that, because of power outages, would likely have been wasted. Instead owners Kristen and Trey Cummings and their employees cranked up a grill, tossed on the steaks, chicken and pork chops and opened their doors to anyone who was hungry. There might not have been electricity, but there was power in the love and generosity shown.
The best can also be found in the dozens upon dozens of EMS crews, power company lineman, local law enforcement officers, shelter workers and city and county public works crews who have worked round the clock to ensure residents were as safe and as comfortable as possible during some trying times.
Assistance from WCLN radio station owners in helping us get the word out about a delay in our own newspaper delivery because of the storm can be counted among the best actions of people willing to offer assistance in a time of need, as can the willingness of our sister paper in Mt. Airy to squeeze us into their print schedule and then make the 3 1/2 hour one-way trip to bring us our product so we can deliver it to subscribers.
Counted, too, among the best we’ve seen in people is how government officials have rolled up shirtsleeves and worked side-by-side with their employees to assess damage, curfew needs, closings and cleanup; the assistance from the National Guard, water rescue teams and countless other neighbors and friends willing to deliver food, offer shelter, ice and hot water to those still without power. Helping hands were needed, and helping hands were extended, and are still being extended today. And we, like so many others across Sampson, are thankful.
In our times of greatest needs, faced with devastation and uncertainty, seeing the best in people is refreshing and a reminder of how great our community really is. Matthew packed a powerful punch, taking the breath out of many of us but, thanks to the goodness of so many people, he didn’t knock us down for long.