DOBSON — Surry County is orchestrating an effort to aid victims of Hurricane Matthew.
At Monday’s meeting of the county Board of Commissioners, Commissioner Larry Phillips announced the county will lead an effort to collect bottled water for those affected by the hurricane.
Phillips said he knows the impact of such natural disasters first-hand.
“I was there in 1995 after Hurricane Floyd hit,” said Phillips. “Unless you’ve seen that devastation, it’s hard to envision.”
Many areas in eastern North Carolina are still struggling with flooding and other damage caused by the hurricane, said Phillips. The process of cleaning up and mending $1.5 billion in damage is only beginning.
“We are one North Carolina,” said Phillips. “If one county is hurting, it hurts us.”
Phillips said the Shepherd’s House and the county’s Habitat for Humanity offices had agreed to be drop-off locations for bottled water. Additionally, bottled water may be dropped off at the county’s Human Services building, located behind Burger King in Mount Airy.
The entirety of the county board is behind the program, according to Phillips. However, commissioners aren’t alone in their endeavors. All three of the county’s school systems have offered to help. On Friday, a collection will be taken at the North Surry football game.
Additionally, Phillips said a local trucking company, H&W Trucking, has offered to haul the water free of charge to a drop point in eastern North Carolina. Johnson Granite, the company founded by Commissioner Larry Johnson, is offering a box truck for use in the mission.
Commissioner Van Tucker said he foresees boil alerts in some communities lasting weeks or even months. The need in the affected areas is great and immediate.
“We are going to do what we would want our neighbors to do for us,” said Phillips. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Phillips said additional drop-off locations may be announced at a later date.
Any person wishing to suggest a drop-off point or who can offer help with the logistical aspect of the effort is asked to call Tucker at 401-1466.
Johnson, who has also volunteered in post-disaster situations, noted any water is helpful, but water bottled in individual servings is preferred in such situations.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.