LAURINBURG — Edward Cain, a teacher and football coach at Spring Hill Middle School, said “our schools are out following Hurricane Florence, but education continues.” On Saturday, Community Service 101 was the class happily digested by young men from Carver Middle School.
An earlier phone call to James McLean of Carver Middle School resulted in a commitment of student help and their assistance in cleaning up the storm damage at the North Carolina Rural Heritage Center on X-Way Road. James along with Coach “Sleepy” Harrington, Coach Cain, and Roosevelt Pridgen would bring some Carver football players and members of the Carver “Blue Blazers” to assist in the cleanup of the huge grounds that are the home of the 1890s John Blue House, three 200-year old home-places, an 1850s mule-powered cotton gin and cotton bale press, the 1870s pastoral study of the Rev. James Ferguson, the 1880s A. D. Gibson Store, a restored log tobacco barn, and a half-mile long, 18-gauge railroad — all on one side of X-Way Road.
Hurricane Florence felled three large gum trees, a large pecan tree fell onto the entertainment stage, an oak tree fell near the train station, a large oak limb fell onto the train tracks, and hundreds of smaller limbs and debris were scattered around the several acre site. Fortunately, little damage was done to the historical buildings on the site.
Before arriving to help at the NCRHC, the Carver group was served breakfast at Solid Rock Baptist Church, and they had stopped to clean the yard of a local woman.
A small chainsaw was used to cut larger limbs into movable pieces that were then piled on the site by the eager students, and later they will be professionally removed, rakes cleared leaves, pecans, and smaller limbs, and the Carver students eagerly gave of their time and their energy for the betterment of their community.
A professional tree service will complete the job and remove the large and small pieces of the trees, but the voluntary assistance from the Carver students made the seemingly impossible task become possible.
Ahead are two of Scotland County’s largest public events at the NCRHC — the Scotland County Highland Games on Oct. 6 and the John Blue Cotton Festival on Oct. 13 — and any previous discussions by either group of storm cancelations of either event have been muted.
There have been thousands of spontaneous or planned local and personal deeds that have helped others, less fortunate, following the many destructions that we faced from Hurricane Florence … and more such actions will continue.
Personal desires to help others — as demonstrated by the Carver young men and many other community volunteers — have brought our local communities closer together. The personal rewards have been expressed in infinite ways: the receiving end of freely given assistance is eternally graceful, and the giving end has personal realizations and personal appreciations knowing that their senses of accomplishments cannot be bought with money.
May this spirit of helping others continue to bring the Scotland County communities together — even in our good times.
Beacham McDougald is a Laurinburg resident and Scotland County historian.