Hope Mills News

Hope Mills Calendar


For details about all meetings and activities, including location where not listed, call Town Clerk Jane Starling at 910-426-4113.

Fayetteville-Cumberland County Human Relations Commission Thursday, March 14, 5:30 p.m., Luther Board Room, Town Hall

Board of Commissioners Monday, March 18, 7 p.m., Luther Board Room, Town Hall

Mayor’s Youth Leadership Committee Monday, March 18, 6 p.m., front conference room, Town Hall

Lake Advisory Committee Tuesday, March 19, 6 p.m., Parks and Rec Center

Aquatics Feasibility Committee Wednesday, March 20, 6:30 p.m., Luther Board Room, Town Hall. This meeting will be held for the purpose of exploring potential partnership opportunities for an aquatics center.


• Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Senior programs at the Parks and Recreation Center. The Senior programs for people ages 55 and older who are residents of Cumberland County have resumed. The rec center was closed in mid-September after Hurricane Florence. Various activities are now back and are scheduled Monday through Friday throughout the day. For details on times and days, check the schedule at www.townofhopemills.com, call the rec center at 910-426-4109, or email Kasey Ivey at kivey@townofhopemills.com.

Hope Mills Area Kiwanis Club at Sammio’s, second Tuesdays at noon and fourth Tuesdays at 6 p.m. For details, call 910-237-1240.

Promote yourself

Email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.

Air Force veteran Dickerson named Volunteer of the Month

16Gregory DickersonGregory Dickerson spent 21 years in the United States Air Force learning about firefighting and fire inspection. Now, he’s bringing some of that knowledge to Hope Mills as local volunteer.

Dickerson was recently honored by the town as its Volunteer of the Month for a variety of activities, including work with the Hope Mills Community Emergency Rescue Team, serving meals at Hope House, working with neighborhood community watch groups and helping out at the local nursing home.

Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner praised the work of Dickerson and volunteers like him, saying they provide countless hours of work in the community on a regular basis.

“We are so fortunate to have volunteers that donate their time and expertise,’’ Warner said. “Recognizing the Volunteer of the Month is our way of thanking them publicly. Our volunteers share their Hope Mills pride in the work they do.’’

Dickerson feels the most important thing he brought with him from his years in the Air Force was the ability to help people in need, whether they were involved in a vehicle accident or a house fire. “You’re helping people get better or try to limit the damage if they do have a fire,’’ he said.

With both a background in firefighting and a degree in emergency management, Dickerson has used his military experience to lead basic training classes for the Hope Mills community emergency response team. He provides expertise in disaster preparedness, firefighting and rescue techniques.

“It was my way of taking the knowledge I have received over the last 30 years and putting it to use in a small community,’’ Dickerson said. “Every little bit volunteers can do alleviates the town from having to pay extra money, whether it’s having police officers to work overtime or things like traffic control at Hope Mills Lake.’’

At last year’s lake celebrations, Dickerson and other volunteers worked with a Hope Mills police officer to provide traffic control. The volunteers saved the town the extra cost of putting additional police officers to work. “That’s one of the ways we can give back,’’ Dickerson said.

Another benefit of volunteer work, Dickerson said, is the volunteer can set his or her own pace and doesn’t have to cope with the stress that can come from having to show up daily for the same job. “The stress level is very minimal as a volunteer,’’ he said. “I don’t have to do it today if I don’t feel like it, but if there’s a need, I do it.’’

Another area where Dickerson’s expertise is valuable is in his work with the Red Cross to inspect and install smoke alarms in private homes.

“We work hand-in-hand with the Red Cross in Hope Mills,’’ he said.

A major push is coming in the months ahead to install smoke alarms in neighborhoods that show a history of fire risk. May 4, Dickerson and other volunteers working with the Red Cross will install some 1,000 alarms in Lafayette Village off Hope Mills Road.

Fire prevention and safety aren’t Dickerson’s only volunteer activities. As a lifetime member of the local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Dickerson regularly spends time at local nursing homes.

“One day I may be in that nursing home,’’ Dickerson said. “I want someone to come and see me. I don’t want to be left alone.’’

He sees the nursing home visits, as well as working with neighborhood watch groups and serving meals at Hope House, as different ways of giving back to the community.

He views the watch groups as a way to stop trouble before it gets a chance to start. “We try to help each other out and be good neighbors,’’ he said.

Dickerson estimates he volunteered about 303 hours total last year. He’d like to get some younger people involved in the volunteer program in Hope Mills.

“It helps you through your high school days, maybe even (in) getting scholarships for college,’’ he said.

He’d like to see the volunteer program in Hope Mills grow and resemble one in Plymouth, a small town in the northeastern part of the state that he visited recently for the annual North Carolina Community Emergency Response Team Conference.

Dickerson said Plymouth has about 4,000 citizens and they seem to almost work as a unit when it comes to volunteering. “When they need something, they work together,’’ he said. “You see a sense of achievement. It was made better by the amount of people that put effort into it.’’

Dickerson has found a simple goal in volunteering that works for him and that he suggests others try. “Enjoy what you’re doing, whether you’re paid or unpaid,’’ he said. “Try to get satisfied doing it.’’

Photo: Gregory Dickerson estimates he volunteered about 303 hours total last year.

Hope Mills Calendar


For details about all meetings and activities, including location where not listed, call Town Clerk Jane Starling at 910-426-4113.

Board of Commissioners Saturday, March 9, 8 a.m., Camp Rockfish Retreat Center (Budget workshop for fiscal year 2019-20)

Fayetteville-Cumberland County Human Relations Commission Thursday, March 14, 5:30 p.m., Luther Board Room, Town Hall


Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Senior programs at the Parks and Recreation Center. The Senior programs for people ages 55-plus who are residents of Cumberland County have resumed. The rec center was closed in mid-September after Hurricane Florence. Various activities are now back and are scheduled Monday through Friday throughout the day. For details on times and days, check the schedule at www.townofhopemills.com, call the rec center at 910-426-4109, or email Kasey Ivey at kivey@townofhopemills.com.

Hope Mills Area Kiwanis Club at Sammio’s, second Tuesdays at noon and fourth Tuesdays at 6 p.m. For details, call 910-237-1240.

Promote yourself

Email hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.

Easter Bunny headed for breakfast in Hope Mills

15EasterThe Easter Bunny will pay an early visit to Hope Mills this year. Local families will get the opportunity to enjoy breakfast with him, and it won’t be rabbit food on the menu.

The Hope Mills Parks & Recreation Department will offer Breakfast with the Easter Bunny on Saturday, April 6, at the recreation center’s main building on Rockfish Road.

The event is similar to the Breakfast with Santa held last December, but now that the recreation center has been repaired following hurricane damage last fall, the event will move back to the recreation center after being temporarily held at the main Hope Mills fire station.

Meghan Freeman, special events programs assistant director for the town, said Breakfast with the Easter Bunny in Hope Mills dates back 10 years or more.

Freeman said the event is another of the town’s efforts to give families with children a chance to enjoy fun quality time together. Last December’s Breakfast with Santa was a big success, and Freeman is hoping for similar results with Breakfast with the Easter Bunny.

There is one small difference between the two events. While Breakfast with Santa offered a meal and a chance to meet with Santa Claus, Breakfast with the Easter Bunny will be followed by an Easter egg hunt at the Hope Mills Municipal Park fields 1 and 2.

While tickets to the breakfast are $6, the egg hunt is free. Anyone can come to the hunt, but attendance at the breakfast will be capped at the first 200 tickets sold.

The breakfast runs from 8:30-11 a.m. and has a menu that includes pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon and juice.

The Easter egg hunt, following the breakfast, has an age limit from 1 to 10, Freeman said. When the hunt begins, she said, the youngsters will be divided up in three different age groups.

Children ages 1-3 will begin hunting for the eggs at 11:15 a.m. The 4-6 age group will start at 11:30 a.m. Children ages 7-10 will hunt beginning at 11:45 a.m.

The children ages 1-3 will begin hunting on Field 1, with the children ages 4-6 going on Field 2. After the first group has finished, additional eggs will be hidden and the final group of children ages 7-10 will hunt on Field 1.

Freeman said plastic eggs will be used that will contain either candy or, in some cases, small prizes.

In the event of rain, the egg hunt will be moved indoors to the recreation center gymnasium.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how many people are going to come out,’’ Freeman said. “At a lot of events recently, our numbers have increased. Hopefully, we’ll continue the trend.

“I think it brings the whole community together. It’s a great plus for us. You can’t beat it.’’

Reservations and advanced payment for tickets are required for the breakfast. The deadline to sign up and pay is Monday, April 1. Children ages three and under will be admitted to the breakfast free of charge but must still be registered.

For further information about Breakfast with the Easter Bunny or the Easter egg hunt, contact the recreation department at 910-426-4109.

Cotton Fire Department adds needed new truck

15Cotton truck 2Work is in progress on a new multipurpose fire truck for Cotton Volunteer Fire Station on Calico Street in Hope Mills. It will be a welcome addition to the vehicles currently in use.

Hank Harris is deputy chief of the Cotton station, a position he’s held for nearly 35 years. He said the new truck, which is scheduled to be delivered by May, will replace an aging 2003 truck made by American LaFrance, which went out of business in 2014.

The old truck was capable of a variety of roles, including vehicle extrication and water rescue. It could also handle support roles at various emergency scenes, Harris said.

Since American LaFrance is out of business, it’s become harder to find replacement parts for the old truck, he added. But that’s only part of the problem. Times have changed, and the Cotton fire station finds itself called on to perform different kinds of jobs. Harris said the fire station has advanced from a medium to a heavy rescue unit. As a result, the station has had to add more equipment, some of which doesn’t fit on the old truck.

That means in some situations, the equipment has to be stored on two trucks instead of one. When two trucks need to be dispatched to a call to make sure all the needed equipment for the situation is available, that’s a problem.

The new truck is being made by a Wisconsin-based company called Pierce Manufacturing. A contract was signed to start work on the new truck in April of last year.

The new vehicle is not a firefighting truck per se; it’s more of a support vehicle, Harris said. “It has no hoses or anything like that, but it has all the hand tools and equipment required that gives us our ratings,’’ Harris said. The truck can be dispatched to certain rescue situations by itself without a firefighting truck being present.

One of the biggest differences between the two vehicles is the number of people the new one will hold. Where the old truck could only handle four passengers, the new one will allow seven.

Harris said the new truck will have a walk-in body that allows firemen access to a climate-controlled area where they can take a break and rehab during fire situations.

“They can get out of the heat, cold or whatever they’re in,’’ Harris said. “(They can) get in a better state of mind.’’

The new truck will also solve the problem of splitting equipment between two trucks. It has extra space available to carry an assortment of tools for vehicle extrication or road rescue.

Equipment the truck carries includes axes, pike poles and ladders.

With the recent increase in flooding situations in the Hope Mills area, the new truck will provide a needed benefit. “We can actually put an inflatable boat on top of the truck,’’ Harris said. “It will increase our water rescue capability.’’

Harris said firefighters won’t need additional training when the new truck arrives as all of the Cotton firefighters are already schooled in taking advantage of the truck’s various capabilities.

Since Cotton Fire Station serves not just Hope Mills but a good portion of the southern end of Cumberland County, the new truck will be a benefit to many, Harris said, in a variety of situations. “We can put more manpower on that truck,’’ he said.

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