TowneBank has donated $150,000 to the Outer Banks Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund, which will help Ocracoke and Hatteras Island rebuild after Hurricane Dorian.
“Our hearts go out to the Ocracoke and Hatteras communities as they rebuild their homes and businesses,” said Taylor Sugg, president of TowneBank Northeastern North Carolina.
“This is the first step in what will be a long and challenging recovery process that TowneBank and the community are committed to supporting. Through the partnership with the Community Foundation, we are able to support our hometown. Working together we will rebuild our wonderful Outer Banks community,” he said.
Since Friday, the Relief Fund has grown to over $400,000 with contributions from more than 1,600 families from across the Outer Banks and the United States.
“It’s incredibly humbling to see this outpouring of support, not only from the Outer Banks community, but from people across the country who love the Outer Banks,” said Lorelei Costa, Executive Director of the Community Foundation. “Every single penny donated will go to local individuals and families in need.”
The road to recovery is going be a long one. The eye of the storm passed over Buxton, and the damage to Avon, Hatteras Village, and Buxton is still being evaluated.
“We’re still in the very early stages of assessing the needs,” said Leigh Brindley, Long-Term Recovery Coordinator for Dare County. “My social workers have already identified 100 families who are going to need some level of help, and there’s going to be more.”
The worst of Dorian’s destructive power, though, was reserved for Ocracoke, where the storm surge reached unprecedented levels.
“The worst flooding that most of us could remember was in Matthew, and this was two or three feet worse than that,” said Earl Pugh, Chair of the Hyde County Board of Commissioners. “A lot of the older homes that were built right on the ground, they had two, three feet of water in them. Most all of the businesses, even out on Highway 12, had water in them. That north wind just piled the water up.”
Bob Woodard, Chair of the Dare County Board of Commissioners, added: “Having a direct hit on Hatteras Island and Ocracoke, it was devastating. There’s a lot of folks there with damage from flooding and wind.”
“The funding and generous donations, they are giving a glimmer of hope,” Commissioner Pugh said.
For State Representative Bobby Hanig, the generosity of the community is part of what sets the Outer Banks apart as a place to live, work, and visit.
“What amazes me, when things happen on the Outer Banks, no one pulls together like we do. We take no time whatsoever to pitch in and help someone out. The outpouring of relief and the folks who want to come out and help is just remarkable,” he said.
In Ocracoke, no one is quite sure when the roads will be repaired and power fully restored. Hyde County Commissioner Tom Pahl described what the donations mean to the people of his village.
“I can’t tell you how incredibly grateful we are for the donation that TowneBank has made, and for everyone’s donations, whether it’s a contribution like TowneBank’s, or even just $5 or $10. Our gratitude is boundless,” he said. “There is also a very heartfelt thanks to the Outer Banks Community Foundation for all that they have done.”
The Community Foundation is gratefully accepting donations to the Disaster Relief Fund in Dare and Ocracoke. Please go to www.obxdisaster.org to make a secure donation online, or mail your check to OBCF, 13 Skyline Road, Southern Shores, NC 27949, with “disaster relief” written in the memo line. Or call 252-261-8839 for more information on how to give.
This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.