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Community spirit

This group of women from Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church of Colerain halt their work for a brief moment to pose for a photo on Thursday at Pro Sparkle Laundromat in Ahoskie. Contributed Photo

AHOSKIE – Arm in arm….helping each other.

It takes a community effort and spirit to get past the tragedy of April 16 where two tornadoes claimed the lives of 12 local individuals and left hundreds homeless.

In the aftermath of this deadly and destructive storm emerge stories of faith and hope; where color, financial status and social standing contain no barriers.

Such was the case here Thursday morning where a group of eight women representing Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church of Colerain reached out to a local businessman for help and found a friend in Henry Daniels.

Daniels, the owner of Pro Sparkle Laundromat on Memorial Drive in Ahoskie, footed the bill for the group to wash and dry clothing and bedding items that will be donated to the survivors of the deadly storm.

“We felt compelled to do something to help our community that was affected by the tornado,” said Faye Wynn, spokesperson for the church group.

The Zion Grove Church family knows all too well the toll of human life that the storm inflicted on this small community. Two church members died when the twister tore an 18-mile path through the heart of Bertie County. Two others managed to escape their home, reduced to rubble by the powerful storm.

One of those survivors, Leander Michelle Williams, was among the group of eight working to help others.

Joining Wynn and Williams were Synesta Freeman, Rosalyn Perry, Virgie Watford, Diamond Watford, Dianne Watford and Maggie Gaskins.

Wynn said the clothing was donated by an individual from Washington.

“Her husband passed away and she gave all of his clothing to us to help those here that had lost everything in the tornado,” Wynn said. “We also received bed linens from an individual in Elizabeth City.”

Armed with these donations, the church group sought assistance in having it all washed and dried, ready to donate to needy individuals.

“We contacted Mr. Daniels and he was so gracious in allowing us to use his laundromat free of charge,” Wynn said. “That’s what small town, community spirit is all about…working arm in arm to help those that need our help.”

Another donation to the group came from Food Lion in Ahoskie. Wynn said the grocery store donated a $40 gift card to purchase laundry detergent.

“We were extremely blessed by the help of these two businesses,” she noted. “Because of their kind hearts, we will be able to distribute good, clean clothing to members of our community.”

“These ladies worked very hard for three hours on Thursday morning, washing, drying and folding clothes that were donated to them,” said Daniels. “It does your heart good to see people reaching out to those in need and I’m happy that my business played a small role in helping this group. They were very courteous and thankful of what we were able to do to help them.”

Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church is located on NC 45 south of Colerain.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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