Life on Hatteras Island is about more than natural beauty, active lifestyle and fresh seafood, though those amenities count for a lot of pleasure and satisfaction. Jim and I have found that there is a generosity of spirit here that carries through everyday activities, and when adversity strikes this spirit is most needed and appreciated.
For instance, when monster storm Florence seemed headed for a direct hit on Hatteras, we were off island and had neglected to roll down our storm shutters. That’s the price you pay for leaving on a perfect Outer Banks day, always the sort of day when you really hate to leave. Our friend and neighbor was unable to lower two of the bank of shutters that defend our favorite spot in our house, a north room that’s especially vulnerable to hurricane winds. To the rescue came an agile surfer friend who with his wife’s help hung out of the windows with a can of WD-40 to loosen up the rollers, and down the shutters came.
Then a tree fell across our driveway, blocking the access to the carport where friends had sheltered a boat and truck. (At 22 feet above sea level our house is a good sheltering spot.) A neighbor photographed the scene and sent it around via social media, and soon another good neighbor chain sawed the tree into pieces that could be removed by our landscaper friend. Thanks, everyone!
Though these are heartwarming incidents, and meaningful to us, the spirit of giving and helping others is far more pervasive and far reaching. For example, Trafton Reynolds called my attention to the ongoing work of the Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men (CHUMM), who are sending Early Response (UMCOR) teams to help with recovery from the devastation on the mainland. The group’s leader, Dennis Carroll, notes that the CHUMM charter calls for using emergency assistance funds only on the Island, so they are asking for help to sponsor the teams that are on their way to Hyde County and a lot of hot, dirty work. The thinking is that Hyde County might be overlooked by other agencies concentrating on the more populous locations. CHUMM/UMCOR will be spending any monies they raise for tools, fuel, supplies, food, water, roof tarps, cleaning supplies, mold killer, and plastic totes for people to use to salvage usable belongings. We can all support this wonderful effort by sending contributions to CHUMM, P.O. Box 1348, Buxton, NC 27920, specifying them as “storm relief.” Volunteers are welcome and can be assigned to a UMCOR team. There are plans to set up a base camp in Swan Quarter.
Trafton reports that John Canning, Paul Rossell and several others from Hatteras Village have already left to help flood victims in Eastern North Carolina. He says, “They know how devastating it is to be on the ‘other side,’ and so they were some of the first to go over there with gas, food, clothes and supplies.”
This effort provides a great opportunity for all of us to be part of the true generosity of spirit that is part of our Island community.