When in need, look no further

Published 9:38 pm Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Last week’s tornado came as a huge surprise to residents of Beaufort County. For that matter, all tornadoes likely come as a huge surprise to most residents of any county, anywhere.

There’s not a whole lot of warning when tornadoes touch down. There’s very little time to prepare and whether or not it’s your home, your vehicle, your business or life destroyed in the torrent of wind seems absolutely random — a random act of nature that can destroy lives in a heartbeat. It’s only in the aftermath that the reality of experiencing one of nature’s deadliest forces kicks in.

In the immediately hours after the EF-2 tornado ripped through the Belhaven/Pantego area, volunteer firefighters and EMS were out in force. The Red Cross was right behind them. On their heels came neighbors, friends and family. Following them were the total strangers who just wanted to help. They moved debris, sorted through belongings and helped the tornado victims find the remnants of their lives.

At one home, where the roof had been torn from the structure and the house chalked up as a complete loss, people gathered to help the family pack up their belongings. Unannounced, a van full of Mennonite women ranging in age from 15 to 65 pulled up to the home and, according to witnesses, packed up the kitchen in 30 minutes, all without saying a word.

This weekend, a benefit will be held for the tornado’s victims: a combination yard sale, dinner fundraiser, car show, auction and musical performance.

This is just a small sampling of the ways in which people have reached out to help since April 7.

Residents of Beaufort County may not have had time to prepare for this natural disaster, but the aftermath is something else entirely. As the dust literally settled, many, many people made, and still continue to make, time to help those whose lives were uprooted in the space of seconds.

When in need, look no further. In Beaufort County, help is on the way.