LAURINBURG — What is the best southern way to thank a large group for their help? Feed them.
The Scotland County Board of Commissioners is planning to thank the local first-responders who put everything on the line for the people of Scotland County during recent storms — as well as every day.
A lunch will be prepared to thank the 350 to 400 responders on Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Chairman Whit Gibson said the board is working with a caterer and are still looking for the right venue.
Hurricane Florence taught first-responders new lessons in emergency situations but they hit each challenge diligently, saving more than 250 people through water rescues. More than 600 residents were sheltered during Florence.
“This was an unprecedented event, but people rose to the occasion and demonstrated a level of professionalism,” said Carol McCall, county co-chair.
Responders worked long shifts and many chose to work to help others — despite their own personal homes having storm damage.
“They were occupied all day for four to five days during the height of the storm,” said Gibson. “A lot of the responders had issues at their own homes but continued to served because of duty.”
Gibson also thanks the responders who were called in for backup from outside the county.
“We had to call backup so those working could take a break — we are very fortunate, no other time have we had help like this time of Florence,” said Gibson.
He mentioned different teams like firefighters form Tennessee who cleaned up the North Laurinburg Fire Station that was ruined by the storm; the Red Cross volunteers, local law enforcement, and additional highway patrolman kept people safe and calm through the chaos.
“We had an addition of about 40 patrolman on the roads; volunteers handing out water, fixing homes, and helping people,” said Gibson.
“I could not be more proud of their efforts to keep us safe,” adds McCall.
“We owe tremendous gratitude and they do this all year long, so we just want to thank them,” said Gibson.
Jael Pembrick can be reached at 910-506-3169 or [email protected]