Answering the Call

Answering the Call
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When Hurricane Florence made landfall on the east coast of the United States in mid-September, she left behind a wake of flooding and destruction. As a result, thousands of people were left without power.

Surf City, a small, coastal town in North Carolina with a population of approximately 2,300 people, was one of the areas that endured the center of the storm. For those fortunate enough to have never experienced a hurricane, this is obviously not a good place to be. Enormous amounts of wind and rain can last for days with seemingly no end in sight. Many people evacuate their homes to head for safety and return once the storm has passed, if there is anything to return to. Yet, some individuals choose to stay and brave the storm for various reasons.

One of the main problems caused by these powerful natural disasters is complete power loss in a huge distance for sometimes months after the storm is gone. Harris Teeter gas station, the only station in Surf City, was left inoperable with no way to supply gas for those who remained in the area.

The closest available generator was on its way from Georgia, but the need for fuel was dire. After dozens of residents posted about the situation on social media, Mitch Crawford, a local spray foam contractor, answered the call for help.

“I just knew a lot of people were posting for help. It was getting serious really quickly,” said Crawford. Fortunately, Mitch lives only a couple of miles away from the Harris Teeter station and was able to bring his spray rig and a 50kW generator to power the facility.

Mitch recalls, “It took about 30 minutes for everything to be OK’d before we could get started. It took three people and about an hour and a half to get everything set up.”

Mitch, alongside his wife who grew up in the area, are the owners of Carolina Energy Concepts. By the time Crawford arrived at the scene, there was a line of approximately 100 cars waiting to receive fuel. Police cars were running low as well and needed gas in order to continue performing their duties and provide aid to the community.

Waiting in gas lines before or after a hurricane can be chaotic. Tensions are high, people are frantic, and violence sometimes ensues. Fights are common and occasionally someone will even draw a gun among the excitement. Thanks to the hard work from those who volunteered their time, the line had dissipated by 7:00 PM and people were able to come and go for gas with no problem.

Mitch and the others put in a long day of work, from around 8:45 AM – 8:30 PM. It is estimated that the Harris Teeter station pumped approximately 15,000 gallons of gas that day. And it was all possible thanks to the Crawfords’ selflessness and love for their community.

Thank you to Mitch and Carolina Energy Concepts for helping out your fellow man in a time of need. The world could use more heroic acts like the one performed during this period of turmoil. Sometimes even the smallest acts can make a world of difference for others.  

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