Giving away the store

Published 12:47 am Tuesday, August 30, 2011

“God gave us two hands — one for giving,” said Asis “Oscar” Daher.

A skeptic might think Daher, owner of Bridge Street Mart in Washington, had other, financially motivated reasons for opening his store during a hurricane.

That skeptic would be wrong.

Asis “Oscar” Daher drove from Pitt County to keep his Beaufort County store open during Hurricane Irene on Saturday. Daher was giving away food. (WDN Photo/Ray McKeithan)

“It’s not about money. I didn’t drive all the way here for money,” said Daher, who lives in Pitt County. “There are a lot of people who need water, milk and bread. … I give it to them.”

“Yes, he do,” said a man right next to the counter, punctuating his words with a laugh. “I’ve seen it all morning.”

With his store located at the corner of Third and Bridge Street —a man-made lake for most of Saturday — Daher defiantly fought the elements, thanks to a strong will and back-up generator.

“I live 20 minutes from here. I have a family, but I feel it is important to come open my store because people depend on me,” said Daher.

During the worst part of Hurricane Irene, shelter-seeking utility workers occupied the store. They found a friend in Daher.

“That’s just the way he does things,” one man said, “Oscar won’t let us pay for anything.”

In a follow-up phone interview Sunday morning, Daher described his trip home after the worst part of Irene had passed

“My family is fine. … We had some damage to shingles, but are very blessed. It took me an hour and 40 minutes to get home!” he said.

On his decision to give away goods when some might choose to price-gouge: “I try my best to do good. I would do it again. … Put that in the paper. I want people to know they can count on me.”

Asis “Oscar” Dehar showed a passion for giving amid torrential rains and hurricane winds, despite personal sacrifice. He demonstrated a commitment to service … with a generator to prove it.