For those who live in Johnston County, it’s not news that Hurricane Matthew struck hard.
Power was off in much of Johnston County far longer than it was in other places locally. Key transportation arteries – Interstate 40, Interstate 95 and U.S. 70 – were closed at times due to damage from the storm. Those closures made it more difficult to bring aid to the hardest hit areas.
And, then there is the river. The Neuse River flooded downtown Smithfield, setting a new mark in rising water – nearly two feet higher than any other recorded levels.
Our friends in Johnston County need help. And we should be first in line to offer it. Garner residents were spared much of the fury of the storm. There were some nervous moments as inspectors watched the water levels rising against the Lake Benson dam, but that problem resolved itself without intervention and without causing residents downstream any issues.
The relative lack of damage in Garner means we still have the means to be of help to others.
Look for ways to do that. The United Way of the Greater Triangle serves residents in Johnston County and they would be a good reservoir for your donations. Among the institutions particularly hard hit by the storm and flooding is the Boys & Girls Club in Smithfield, where the roof collapsed during the storm, ruining that facility and leaving children without a safe place to go when their parents have to return to work. It is also one of the institutions in Johnston County supported by the United Way.
If you have more time than money, there will also be opportunities to help others. The clean up will be especially long and arduous in Johnston County. It is hard physical labor of the kind that requires all hands on deck. So be willing to give of your time to help a stranger get back on their feet.
Flood waters in Johnston County have crested now and the waters are receding. The process of cleaning up and getting things back to normal will take some time.
But the attitude of most people in the Garner-Cleveland Record neighborhood is one of neighbor-helping-neighbor.
If ever there was a time and a need for neighbors to help their neighbors, it is now.