LAURINBURG – Bo Frizzell has high hopes that the people of the county will step up to help out the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
To that end he has secured two tractor trailers from Cooley’s Nursery and Wagram Paper Stock to collect supplies to take to Texas.
“This needs to be a county thing. The people of this town and county will pull together and show the passion they have for other people,” Frizzell said. “I think the people of this county are amazing and it just takes something like this to pull us together.”
Frizzell, the owner of Edge Grading and Hauling in Wagram, was moved to take action after watching news reports of Harvey’s aftermath.
The hurricane made landfall on Friday in the bay town of Rockport devastating the town of 11,000. The storm destroyed hundreds of buildings from homes to businesses and government buildings before moving inland, dumping over 25 inches of rain, and flooding the bayous of Huston.
Officials estimate that more 30,000 people are currently in temporary emergency shelters. Harvey is the most powerful storm to hit that region in decades.
“I came in from work the other night and flipped on the news,” Frizell said. “When I saw those old people sitting in that rest home, I knew if there weren’t enough people to help them that they were really in trouble.”
Frizzell said he was also moved by a photograph of an exhausted police officer trying to assist victims of the storm. He began to reach out to people and organizations in the community to arrange a drive to collect the items Texas victims so desperately need.
“I saw a picture of a police officer that had sat down and just passed out from exhaustion, and I knew right then in my heart that we needed to help because by God, other people, have helped us when were in need through different storms.”
The local collection effort will begin on Thursday at 8 a.m. and continue until 9 p.m. Donations will be taken daily until the trailers are full. The trailers are parked across from Wendy’s at the old McDonald Brother’s Lumber store site
Organizers will collect water, non-perishable food, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, diapers, formula, bottles and wipes.
“Anything you can think of that people would need that have nothing − except clothes. Do not bring any clothes because most of the time clothes get thrown away,” Frizzell said.
Frizzell has reached out to local clubs, churches and city and county officials for support.
For example, Scotland County Sherriff Ralph Kersey is expected to contact Texas officials to find a location for Frizzell to take the supplies. Mike Coughenour offered the use of the lot on which the trucks are parked. Contractor William McRae has purchased lumber and will have his crews build steps to access the trailers. Others in the community have offered their support as well, according to Frizzell.
Frizzell and his son, Leonard, will drive the trucks to Texas once collection ends. Frizzell will cover the $5,000 cost for the fuel required, but he is accepting cash donations toward the expense. Any money leftover will be used to buy bottled water for victims.
Prayer cards will be available at the collection site for a donation of any amount. Prayers and good thoughts for the people of Texas can be written on the cards, and Frizzell hopes the cards can be handed out to residents along with supplies.
“I’ve got a good feeling that the people of Laurinburg and Scotland County are going to pull together,” Frizzell said.
The effort needs volunteers to help gather items and load the truck.
For information or to volunteer, call Frizzell at 910-334-2760.
The Sandhills — American Red Cross is looking for volunteers to help vicitms of the storm. The group currently has 50 people from the region stationed in Texas. Two of the volunteers are from Laurinburg.
“We have more people on standby to help with shelters, feeding and driving meals around, once transportation like airports and interstates open up” said Executive Director Phil Harris. “So yep, we’re in the middle of it.”
Harris said the organization will need thousands of volunteers in the weeks to come to help with clean up and rebuilding. Helpers will be sent to the areas for two weeks stints.
“We’re going to need people for the long haul as people come home,” Harris said. “When people work 10 to 12 hour days two weeks is a good stretch.”
To volunteer or donate, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit redcross.org.
Volunteers will be vetted and subject to a background check. Once cleared they will be given training and orientation and put to work in a capacity that suits their skill set from whether that skill is nursing, counseling, fork lift operator or manning food distribution.
“We’d love to have you. When Hurricane Matthew hit, they all came to help us out; now it’s time to pay it forward.”
Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169