Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the attribution of quotes and spelling of names.
With tornado warning alerts to every mobile device every few minutes on the docks and in fish houses Thursday morning, local fishermen and their families remained in high spirits and with positive attitudes as they secured boats and disassembled docks.
Sneads Ferry is the home of ocean lovers who make their living harvesting the bounties of seafood along the North Carolina coast. Community has always been important in this quaint fishing village that remains unincorporated. Whether it's good or bad weather, the way of the village is to stick together.
One family in the Sneads Ferry seafood industry took the community-oriented spirit to another level of generosity on Wednesday offering half-price dozens of male blue crabs and an even sweeter deal to loyal customers. Midgett & Son Crab Co. of 111 Pine St. reached out to their past customers offering them free crabs.
Not just a dozen free crabs for customers, but a half bushel to a bushel, depending on family size.
Chris Hoagland is a Marine, resident and customer who volunteered to help out securing cages and other necessary tasks for the Midgetts in preparation for the storm. Hoagland was given blue crabs in the customer loyalty rewards.
Hoagland said he was here last year for Florence and he comes to the company regularly for seafood. When he came by on Wednesday and they needed help getting things done, he jumped in to help. Hoagland said he, his wife and their daughter will be riding the storm out.
"We are as good as we can be, they weren't yet so we came out to help them," he said.
Kayla Evans said the worst two storms she can remember are, "Fran and Florence, in that order." The biggest thing to prepare, she said, is food, water, pet foods, and securing outside belongings.
Johnny Wayne Midgett, owner of Midgett & Sons Crab Co., said, "I'm blessed" when asked how he feels about the storm approaching.
"It'll blow by like the rest of them," he said, adding it's part of living on the coast. "All the fishermen know what to do, get your house done, get your boats out, go home and shut the door, that's about all we can do."
The determination on the giveaway came after they caught the crabs and the truck couldn't come because of the weather. From there it was a mutual decision between Johnny Midgett’s wife, Kim Midgett and himself to give them away to their customers.
"I'd rather see somebody have them than to have to throw them back. We like giving back to the community, doing what we can. I've always learned that the more you give, the more you get," he said as he watched his sons take apart the dock to protect the planks from damages.
His sons started at daybreak and worked even in the heavy rains that poured down in Sneads Ferry early Thursday morning. Johnny Midgett said exports are important and people oftentimes forget that exports are how many fishermen survive with shipping seafood out.
Zack Midgett, one son in the company said, "It takes us a whole day to do this," as he worked already drenched from the early rains.
Just around the bend at Mitchell's Seafood, boats were being secured and all points double checked while a few of the more seasoned men who make it all happen day in and day out took a break and joked around with each other.
Mark Mitchell was among the gentlemen as they had a good time in conversation despite the storm.
"They're like this all the time," Mitchell said.
There were 20 boats secured at Mitchell's Seafood and to do so took at least 8 hours on Wednesday, the fishermen said. There were still ropes being tied and secured to pilings, some even across the water to trees to keep boats steady in strong winds.
Mitchell's Seafood, located at 235 Wheeler Creek Road in Sneads Ferry has been in business for more than 40 years.