Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel
Thursday, December 12, 2019
Since 1951

Hurricane Dorian Strikes:

EAMC's Local Missions Committee Responds


Fortunately, Hurricane Dorian bypassed Topsail Island in September 2019. Unfortunately, Ocracoke Island, situated at the southern tip of the Outer Banks, was not so lucky. On the morning of September 6, Dorian made landfall on Cape Hatteras, just north of Ocracoke, as a Category 1 hurricane with 1-minute sustained winds of 90 mph. Although Ocracoke escaped a direct hit, it was inundated with quickly-rising flood waters from the Pamlico Sound. Trees were downed, roads washed out, vehicles ruined, houses flooded, and businesses damaged or destroyed. Everyone on the island was affected in one way or another. The community is in for a long and difficult recovery.

Long-time affiliate Rob Orr, part owner and manager of The Berkley Manor, a wedding and special event venue in Ocracoke Village, rode out the storm, at one point swimming from the main house to the elevated barn to escape the rising waters. Thirty inches of floodwater penetrated the three buildings at The Berkley, especially the main house, which dates to the 1950s. Rob faces massive clean up and restoration challenges.

L. to r., Rick Benton, Rich Pollock, Joe Bell, Reggie Matthews (a college friend of David Barnes), and David Barnes take a break while cleaning up property of affiliate Rob Orr on Ocracoke Island after Hurricane Dorian caused major flooding there in early September 2019. Also pictured is Deep, Rob's trusty Chesapeake Bay retriever. (Photo credit Rob Orr.)

Our Local Missions committee came forward to help. Early on the morning of September 10, affiliates Rick Benton, Rich Pollock, Joe Bell, David Barnes, and David’s college classmate, Reggie Mathews caught one of the first ferries over to the island. Together with Rob, they spent the next three-and-a-half days moving out furniture and water-damaged debris, washing down warped hardwood floors, cutting out cypress wood paneling, and tearing out soggy insulation. 

Since Hurricanes Matthew (2016), Florence (2018), and now Dorian, our volunteers on the Local Missions committee have been getting a lot of experience in storm restoration. Much work remains to be done at the Berkley, and more trips are being planned. If you would like to lend a hand or help in any way, contact Rick Benton or David Barnes to find out how and when. 

We all know that storm recovery is a long and arduous task. But we are not without hope. As the Apostle Paul says in Romans 5:3, “We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope.”