Pub PenLast week about this time, some of us were still without power and water. We were in that window of hope where our world would soon be made right. And for most of us, it was, but for many, their world was just starting to unravel.

Our kids lost a week of school. Some of us had to find creative ways to get to work. And once there, we had to find creative ways to get our work done. But for others in our state, the pain had just started. As the Cape Fear River began to slowly move back into its banks, rivers across the state began to crest and our neighbors to the south in Robeson County and to the East, in areas like Kinston and Goldsboro, began to flood.

It would have been easy for our community to say we have enough to take care of and leave our neighbors to fend for themselves. But we didn’t. Instead, we rolled up our sleeves and began to look for ways to help not only our neighbors here in Cumberland County but also those we do not know.

On Fort Bragg, commands reached out to the soldiers and civilians who work there to see what kind of damage had occurred, and then they put hands and feet to work helping to salvage what could be salvaged and to find ways to get assistance to those in need.

The civilian community worked the same way. Neighbors offered shelter to those who had lost everything. Clothes drives were launched, volunteers started cooking for those in need and collecting the basics to share.

This reminded me of the question asked in the Bible: Who is my neighbor? Is it the person who lives beside me? Is it the person who looks like me, believes like me and has the same economic condition that I do? I’m proud to say that our community knew the answer to that question. That became readily apparent as groups all across the county scrambled to help our neighbors in Robeson County.

At the church I attend, Green Springs Baptist, an immediate call to action was given and people answered wholeheartedly. Clothes, blankets, pillows, soap, deodorant, tooth brushes and tooth paste … whatever the need, began appearing, and each evening volunteers made a run to the shelters in Robeson County to distribute all the donations. Each day, the donation room was full again. At my office at Fort Bragg, I mentioned the work the church was doing, and I loaded my SUV three days in a row with things brought to me by my coworkers and friends. That’s just my experience. Many of you have similar experiences.

People can say what they want about our community, and I will stand and tell them they are wrong. Fayetteville/Cumberland County is a community of heart. It is a community that cares. I am proud to call Fayetteville home.

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