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Relief/Recovery team requests lease

WINDSOR – The Bertie Relief and Recovery Team wants to continue their good work.

The Rev. Mike Willard, who is Pastor of Green’s Cross Baptist Church and Chairman of the group, appeared before the Bertie County Commissioners Monday seeking their blessing to have a more hands-on role in the future.

“The Bertie Relief and Recovery Team has been instrumental in the relief for the tornadoes,” Willard said. “We are asking that you consider the lease of one of your buildings so we can become more instrumental in participating in the distribution of donations.”

Willard said the team appreciated the support offered from the commissioners and was hoping the partnership would continue. He said the group wasn’t seeking monetary support, but was hoping to least a building for the purpose of taking over the donations received during the tornadoes and hurricane last year.

“We want to be there to assist everything from a single-family fire to a tornado or earthquake,” Willard said of the team.

Commissioner Norman M. Cherry Sr. asked if the old DSS building, which is where the donations are now located, could be used for that purpose.

Interim Bertie County Manager Morris Rascoe said the building leaks during heavy rain, but was in usable condition. He said the Department of Social Services has confidential records stored at the facility under lock and key, but those could be moved to the old health department.

He said there was a need for the assistance the Relief and Recovery Team could provide.

Commission Vice Chairman J. Wallace Perry asked how much room the team would need.

Assistant County Manager Misty Deanes said the entire building was full of donations currently and she believed it would continue to be needed.

Commission Chairman L.C. Hoggard III asked Willard if the grant funding being sought by the team could help repair the facility. Willard said many of the current grants were specific for certain needs, but if grants were written that could be used the team would partner with the county.

Deanes explained the donations in the facility were being managed by the county with the help of the Relief and Recovery Team. The transfer of the facility and donations would allow the non-profit group to become responsible for distribution and upkeep.

Commissioner Rick Harrell said since Deanes had been a part of the team since its inception; he wanted her opinion on the matter.

“They have been an integral part of the recovery effort since the beginning,” she said. “They have helped with distribution and have had ladies come in to sort the clothing.”

Perry said he remembered groups from several churches aiding in the sorting of clothing and said he remembered particularly a group from Ross Baptist Church who undertook the project.

Harrell asked if the group was asking to pay utilities and Willard said that was the case.

Hoggard reminded the board the neighbors of the old DSS building had asked the facility not be used for a commercial purpose and that the property had been rezoned by the town of Windsor.

Having said that, he also insisted the board wanted to be of service.

“This board wants to do whatever it can to expedite taking care of the need,” he insisted.

Harrell suggested having Deanes work with Willard to prepare a contract or do whatever is necessary to make the property available. He asked Rascoe if that seemed appropriate.

“Since Misty has been involved from the beginning, I think she would be the appropriate person to handle this,” Rascoe said.

The board agreed by consensus to have the two work on the project and bring it back for their approval at a future meeting.