Disaster Team Called to Ocracoke Island Twice by NC Conference
The joint Disaster Response Team of Highland UMC and Avent Ferry UMC was called to Ocracoke twice after Hurricane Dorian Struck. Your church’s team is the only team called by name to assist in hurricane damage abatement by the NC UMC Conference. All of the other response teams and individuals volunteered to assist in any way they could.
The Ocracoke UM Church and parsonage were flooded for the first time ever; and, they both were in five feet of water. The Fellowship Hall of the church was built higher and did not flood. The first team of five people slept, ate, cooked and used the Fellowship Hall as an office. Conditions were
crowded; however, everyone pitched in and made the very best of the situation. Our team cooked breakfast for all of Methodists working on the island. This included all of the UM Conference Disaster Administration personnel. A shower trailer was thankfully brought in for everyone working.
Creative techniques were invented for safely tackling these jobs. This gathered quite an audience of curios onlookers. A “cookie” of wood was signed by all members and presented to each homeowner or occupant that we worked for. The level of honest thoughtfulness and love for not only our teams, but for everyone working on the island was truly unbelievable. People recognized us from the first trip and went out of their way to come and thank you. The first team was fed lunch and dinner by the Baptist Men. The Red Cross delivered our meals to us in the field because we could not break away from our jobs to eat. A very moving, multi-denominational church service was held each Sunday morning for everyone on the island. On both trips, our teams performed flawlessly and safely, and, they showed a level of determination that is exceptionally rare in volunteer groups.
It is with grateful acknowledgement that your Disaster Team recognizes those who have generously donated funds, equipment and prayers to enable us to help those who cannot help themselves. We still need your generous donations to help us to be prepared for being fully self-stuffiest when needed. We are truly blessed to be a blessing!
Team Leader Cullen Whitley was placed in charge of making all of the final
recommendations as to hazard tree abatements for both trips. Team # 2, four people, was able to stay in a donated cottage on the NE corner of the island. Both trips by your teams to Ocracoke were filled with a multitude of tree removal problems. A track loader was used in trip 1 to clean up the very worst of the jobs. This included a 30” diameter pecan tree that was uprooted and on two houses. The owner wanted to save the tree
if possible; and, as a result, we stood that tree back up after 7 hours of work! Alas, we concluded that the tree would cause unacceptable problems in the future and it was cut down the next day. Large cedar trees on houses were the norm for our team’s work on both trips.
We are Climbing For Christ!
Story by Cullen Whitley.