As this is being written on Monday afternoon, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and squirrels are going about their usual business.
But it’s not a great day for many in Scotland County or the region beyond. It’s the day after a tumultuous 72-hour visit from Hurricane Florence — which left behind wind-wrecked areas, nearly 20 inches of rain,power outages, boil-water advisories, and numerous folks who were forced to flee their homes.
Wasn’t is just 23 months ago we were doing the very same ting with Hurricane Matthew?
Well this one was worse. Mostly because it hit us square in the nose and then just hung over us for hours, like it was just waiting for us to come out from hiding so it could smack us again.
There is much about Hurricane Florence tat will go down in the record books, both locally and statewide. But thankfully, as of Monday afternoon, things were beginning to get back to normal. Power was being restored, businesses were reopening, people were back outdoors and there was hope in the air.
But there remains an awful lot of hard work, patience and cooperation left ahead.
It’s not too early to start giving sincere thanks in many directions.
First and foremost must be to the Laurinburg and Scotland County police officers, deputies, firefighters and rescue personnel. This group of men and women have been doing what they do best — basically running toward the problem rather than away from it. If reports are correct, there have been about 2,000 rescues in Scotland County during the storm — people stranded in homes, in vehicles, on foot and in any number of tragic situations — and our civil servants have risen to the task.
Next are those who braved the elements — severe ones most of the time — to repair broken power lines needed to supply you with electricity, cable and internet, all of which is important to stay in touch with the outside world.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t also give kudos to the volunteers who just simply pitched in wherever help has been needed. I know there have been many over the past few days, and I’m sure there will be even more in the days ahead.
I also want to give my thanks to a couple of co-workers — Katelin Gandee and Jael Pembrick. These two young staff writers produced a great majority of what you saw on our website between Friday and Sunday, much of the time without the assistance of myself or Sports Editor Brandon Tester, each of whom were basically on an island in Lumberton without power or internet access. Katelin and Jael grew up a lot this past weekend — both personally and professionally, and proved they can handle a very difficult situation.
And then there’s our subscribers.
Obviously we have not been able to print a newspaper for you to hold in your hands. Like this one, an E-edition is the best we could do since our printing presses in Lumberton found themselves under water. There is hope that those presses can be brought back to life quickly and we can restore home delivery as soon as waters recede enough to allow it. Until then, please be patient and continue to watch for stories and updates at www.laurinburgexchange.com, where you can also find the daily E-editions. The pay wall for those have been removed to allow for easier access.
All in all, I want to thank everyone who has done their part, and even gone above and beyond, to assist others and keep people safe during this trying time. As someone smart once said, “tough situations build strong people; keep the faith and things will get better.”
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-506-3023 or [email protected]