From Georgia, with love

Published 4:35 pm Friday, August 14, 2020

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WINDSOR – The outpouring of support for Bertie County in the wake of Hurricane Isasis, which included a deadly EF-3 tornado, continues to arrive at the county’s Early College High School gym….even from those needing a roadmap to direct them to the site.

At around 2 pm on Wednesday, Jean Vaught pulled her full size Chevy truck into the parking lot of the school, where Bertie County Local Government has set-up Storm Relief Donation Center. She had left her home in Hephzibah, Georgia, a small town of 4,200 people located just south of Augusta, at 7 am. Her truck was loaded with hygiene products, cleaning supplies, bath and kitchen items, school supplies, and snacks.

Those items – along with a growing collection of canned food, clothing, shoes, bedding, and household furniture from other donations – will help Bertie residents hit hard by the storm get back on their feet. Some of those storm victims lost everything they had except the clothes on their backs when the tornado’s powerful winds tore through neighborhoods along Morning Road and Woodard Road in the early morning hours of Aug. 4.

When asked how she found out about the dire need in Bertie County in the wake of the destruction and loss of life caused by the hurricane, Vaught said, “It popped up on my news feed on Facebook.”

At that point, she simply went online to Bertie County Local Government’s website to see what type of items were needed.

“This is something I do all the time,” said Vaught, who founded the non-profit People Helping People CSRA in 2013. “I go to different places that have been impacted by natural disasters and drop off needed items. This is what we do…we help people who need help.”

Vaught, a Georgia native, is a K-2 Special Education teacher by trade with over 20 years in education.

“Our group solicits donations of the needed items and with me being out of work right now – our classes start again after Labor Day – I volunteer as a delivery driver,” she said, adding that the trip from Hephzibah to Windsor was approximately 400 miles. “The plan for me after unloading is to go back home and stay prepared for the next trip where we’re needed.”

When asked how many of these types of “donation trips” she has made over the years, Vaught quickly replied, “too many.”

“I’ve done this for years….trips to Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida,” she stressed. “I feel it’s a blessing to work with our organization to help those in need. Those people are hurting and in need, and we’re here to fill those needs and help lessen some of the hurt.”

Vaught offered praise for Bertie County Local Government for the way they had things set up to receive donations.

“They have done a great job with that,” she said.

Back home, Vaught’s group also works with the homeless as well as those just needing a hand-up in life.

“We’ll help where needed….no questions asked,” Vaught said shortly before leaving for her 400-mile trip back to Georgia.



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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