pub penI am what most would call a weather geek. I love watching the weather. I study it. I often give weather forecasts to friends and family. That’s why I was uncomfortable with the cavalier attitude our local weather forecasters had concerning our recent unwelcome guest, Hurricane Matthew.
Being a weather geek, I follow the different models. And, I can say with no hesitation, always look at the European model. Its accuracy is far better than ours. So while everyone around was telling us not to worry, the storm wasn’t going to come anywhere near the Cape Fear region, the European model was SHOUTING, “Hey, you guys! Get ready.” Unfortunately, no one paid attention.
Instead, we all sat here, thinking ourselves safe and out of harm’s way. Until we were in harm’s way. Then everyone acted surprised. I would like to say that I smugly thought, I told you so. But I didn’t. I worried about my friends and neighbors. I worried about our first responders out in the midst of the storm. And I worried about those lookey loos who always find themselves stuck because they didn’t think it was that bad.
Sitting here, in the darkness of my home, I listened to the wind blow and watched the water levels keep rising. My neighborhood became a lake, and many found themselves under water. While I was safe, city and county officials hovered, trying to make a plan. And, while they planned, our law enforcement, fire department and EMS were out in the midst of the storm — taking care of us. 
They saved countless people who thought they could drive through 3 feet of water. They helped those stuck in their homes. They rescued those who simply had no sense. And they mourned those they couldn’t save. Friends I know who are among our heroes worked double shifts. They left their families alone, to fend for themselves, so they could take care of our community. 
When so many want to talk about police relations, this community saw who had their back. They saw who braved the storm to take care of them … no matter their creed or color. 
Our community leaders used every means possible to keep the local citizenry informed. They were on news casts. They were on Facebook. If there was a means to get the word out, they used it. I don’t want to single any one person out, but I have to say that I followed Kirk deViere’s Facebook posts religiously. I also followed Jimmy Keefe and Mayor Nat Robertson. The Fayetteville Observer also did a great job keeping us up to date.
Of course, I can’t pass up the opportunity to heap praise on the fearless men and women of all of our local utilities. They worked through the storm.
They were wet, cold and tired. But they kept going. 
I will admit, I was unhappy sitting in the dark. I was unhappy being without water. But I wasn’t wet and cold. I wasn’t facing downed electric lines and pouring rains and wind. They kept going. They are among the heroes of this storm. So, too, are the neighbors who came together to cut trees and move them from roads and houses. They offered help when others needed it. 
People can say what they will about Fayetteville and Cumberland County. But I know it is truly a community of heroes, people who care about their neighbors and go the extra mile. Matthew may have surprised the weather forecasters, but the reaction from our community did not surprise me one bit: Heroes, history and hometown. They all surely define our community.

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