More than 100 Onslow County residents opted to take shelter at one of the facilities in Onslow County that were providing a safe haven against the storm.
“Everything was great, the county was very prepared. It was a bad period for a lot of the guests there because they had to leave their home, but we were able to provide them with three meals, snacks and plenty of water,” said CJ Crittenden, the shelter manager at Jacksonville Commons Middle School.
Overall, the middle school hosted 45 people, six dogs and one cat - making it the most occupied shelter in the county.
“We tried to provide as much communication as possible to make it comfortable for them. I think the guests found it helpful that we provided regular weather updates, they were mostly concerned about their property. Employees were also worrying about their homes, like how the roads were. I think that’s what really made the guests understand that the county was there for them in a time of need,” said Crittenden.
It was reported that the Richlands High School shelter had water rising in and around the entry of the facility, but they directed guests to a different entry to avoid safety hazards.
“At the shelter, we had personnel from the Department of Health, volunteers from Jacksonville Police Department and an Onslow County Board of Education employee making meals and taking care of the toiletries,” said Crittenden.
At the Commons Middle School facility, there were a couple of areas with water leaking through the doors but it was cleaned up quickly, said officials.
“I think I was most impressed with the citizens themselves stepping up and saying, ‘What can I do to help?’. They were willing to help us and their neighbors by passing out water, snacks and blankets,” Crittenden said. “Its great to see that, among themselves, they were willing to build a coalition to help. They are great citizens looking out for each other.”
By Sunday afternoon, the shelters had begun to close but the Jacksonville Commons Middle School site is expected to remain open until 9 a.m. Monday and will remain special needs and pet-friendly until its closing, according to a press release from Onslow County.