Southwest Wake News

Two towns named Holly Springs connect after tornado

Holly Springs resident Deb Carlton presents a $700 check to Mayor Dick Sears to be donated to the Tornado Disaster Relief Fund in Holly Springs, Miss.
Holly Springs resident Deb Carlton presents a $700 check to Mayor Dick Sears to be donated to the Tornado Disaster Relief Fund in Holly Springs, Miss. Courtesy of Mayor Dick Sears

A tornado that ripped through Holly Springs, Miss., in December left massive damage in its wake. Two people died in the disaster, and homes were damaged.

But the tragedy brought together two towns that share the same name.

Holly Springs, N.C., has offered the town aid, raising $2,500 to help residents of the Mississippi town rebuild.

“We’re just very proud to be a small part of helping them out, which we will continue to do,” said Mayor Dick Sears of Holly Springs, N.C.

Holly Springs, Miss., has about 8,000 residents and is the northern part of the state, or 30 miles southeast of Memphis, Tenn. The town was founded in 1836 on territory occupied by the Chickasaw Indians. The town boasts on its website that it’s home to an annual Hummingbird Migration Celebration and a Kudzu Festival.

Holly Springs in Wake County was incorporated in 1877, and is familiar with rebuilding. The town was “devastated” after the Civil War, according to the town’s website, and struggled between World War I and II.

While staff in the Wake County town of 30,000 residents helped coordinate and promote local efforts to raise money for the Mississippi town, local business and residents did much of the leg work.

Resident Deb Carlton raised $700 for the Tornado Disaster Relief Fund in Holly Springs, Miss.

Niche Wine Lounge held a fundraiser that collected $350 for the cause. August is Ours, a Greenville-based band, performed for free.

In January, Massage Envy Holly Springs donated $1 from every massage and facial service to the Mississippi town. The company also matched total cash and credit card contributions and encouraged its members to donate. The effort raised more than $1,500.

Richard Bell, owner of Massage Envy Holly Springs, said he knew he had to help when he first heard about the Mississippi disaster.

“It just occurred to me that we can’t turn our back on our sister city, so we started the process,” he said. “We sent our money, and we’re hopeful that it helps some people rebuild their lives.”

In the meantime, Sears has become acquainted with the mayor and assistant mayor of the Holly Springs counterpart.

“Relationships have been made,” he said. “We will keep in touch and keep communications open, and we will try to help each other in any way we can.”

Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608: @KTrogdon

Want to help?

Donations can be made to the “Holly Springs/Marshall County Disaster Relief Fund” and mailed to Holly Springs City Hall, 160 S. Memphis St., Holly Springs, MS 38635.

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