Mike Parker: Support from Franklin County to those enduring flood waters
The Smith Café Chapter of the ROMEO Club held a recent meeting at its namesake location. For those new to the term, ROMEO does not imply a rowdy group of young men seeking the latest raucous party as in Shakespeare’s famous play. In point of fact, “ROMEO” is an acronym for Retired Old Men Eating Out.
As I was listening to a variety of opinions on the topics of the day, George Smith Jr. came to me and said he wanted to introduce me to several men in the back room.
“Don’t let anyone take my coffee. I’ll be right back,” I said over my shoulder as George and I headed aft.
“These guys are from Franklin County,” George said as he introduced me to the three men sitting at the table. “This is their second trip to bring supplies to help flood victims.”
My knowledge of North Carolina geography is a little spotty.
“Where, exactly, is Franklin County?” I asked.
“Louisburg area,” said Chris Edwards. “We are about as far north as you can go before hitting the Virginia line.”
“Yeah,” said Scott Hunt. “We are so far back in the sticks that if a bird sits on a power line, we have a blackout.”
Despite their deprecating jabs to their hometown, they had come to Kinston for a serious purpose. Chris and Scott, joined by Barry Adams, were on their second trip to bring a variety of supplies to aid those displaced by Hurricane Florence.
Items they brought included diapers, charcoal, grills, cleaning supplies, feminine hygiene products, deodorant, dog and cat food, hay for horses, and water.
On their first trip, they brought 5,000 pounds of goods. On this trip, they upped their kindness to 8,000 pounds.
Chris made plain that he, Scott and Barry were only messengers bringing the fruit of the labors of many in their community who promoted the drive to collect supplies. Jeremy Neal, not on this trip, was one key promoter of the drive for goods via social media. Brent Cardwell, who operates WYWN – Breeze Radio on Facebook, was another key to the success of the drive.
“Why would you even put yourselves to this trouble?” I asked.
Chris, who has served as the fire chief of the Gold Sand Volunteer Fire Department, said they saw the need and were moved to action.
“So many people could do so many things to help,” he said, “but so few actually get involved.”
Scott was even more pointed in his explanation.
“We are doing this because our mamas and daddies raised us to help others,” he added. “When we were young, our parents MADE us help those in need. Now, helping others is just second nature.”
Private citizens in Franklin County saw our need – and they cared. Some made donations. Some came bearing those gifts. These men and women put their compassion into action. In doing so, they allowed flood victims in our area see a bit of sunshine despite the storm they had to weather.
A special thanks to Chris Edwards, Scott Hunt, and Barry Adams for being bearers of kindness. Thank you, too, to every man, woman, and child in the Franklin County area compassionate enough to reach out to relieve some of the suffering Down East.
Their mamas and daddies would be so proud.
Mike Parker is a columnist for Neuse News. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.