Relief is on the way

Harnett County KARES fills 2 trucks with relief supplies

By RICK CURL
Senior staff writer
Posted 1/14/22

The final phase of Harnett County’s Kentucky Area Relief and Support (KARES) is complete and the trucks are loaded.

Residents, municipalities, public officials, law enforcement agencies, …

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Relief is on the way

Harnett County KARES fills 2 trucks with relief supplies

Posted

The final phase of Harnett County’s Kentucky Area Relief and Support (KARES) is complete and the trucks are loaded.

Residents, municipalities, public officials, law enforcement agencies, area churches and a massive group of volunteers combined efforts to ship more than 85,000 pounds of tarps, ropes, flashlights, blankets, diapers, phone chargers, cleaning supplies — almost anything imaginable — to the people of Mayfield, Kentucky who were devastated by recent tornadoes. The supplies were loaded in two semi-truck trailers for the more than 600-mile journey.

Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats, who spearheaded the effort, said he’s not at all surprised by the generosity and compassion shown by the people of Harnett County who contributed their time and gave donations to make KARES a success.

“I’m just so humbled, we put this together so quick,” he said. “There were so many logistics to put this thing together and that’s why I reached out to the other folks to help make this happen.”

The project did come together in a relative quick time. It took just over a month to set-up drop-off sites, plan the logistics and get the project started ahead of Thursday’s send-off at the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office.

Coats called the effort a blessing to both Harnett County and the victims the trucks will supply in the coming days.

“Today is just a blessing for those folks in Kentucky who lost everything,” he said, “and for our community to come together to help those in need. I just can’t say enough, I’m just so proud of our community.”

Donations dropped off at police stations, churches, fire stations and emergency services locations were transferred to Lillington where two trailers were loaded. The effort included more than 100 volunteers who assisted with everything from placing the donations on pallets to helping load the trailers. Thursday was a celebration of the culmination of those efforts.

“I’ve got to thank all these folks,” Coats said, “and the Good Lord.”

The Dec. 10 storm produced an EF4 tornado with sustained winds of 190 mph. It took the lives of 22 residents. The storm left the entire town devastated with damage and destruction in its wake.

Media reports describe the town as looking like a war zone along a 16 block path with piles of rubble pock marking the town.

“This could have been our community,” Coats told those gathered to see the final results. “I spoke to the police chief out there, they lost their police department, they lost their sewer system, they lost a watering system. I heard people say they need cleaning supplies, but when I looked at the photographs there was nothing to clean.”

A truck provided by the local Food Lion Distribution Center along with a trailer from Gregg Hipp and an additional truck from Noble Oil Services will make the 11-plus-hour journey to the Bluegrass State.

Ahold Delhaize USA, who partners with Food Lion at the Distribution Center, said the effort was just another way for the company to give back.

“I’m just glad we were able to partner with the county and to be part of the community and to do our part to help the community,” Ahold Delhaize Transportation Manager Steve Pope said. “Ahold Delhaize and Food Lion are always willing to help the community anytime we get the opportunity.”

Pope said the KARES effort was another part of Food Lion Feeds, a company-wide program supporting local communities by donating meals.

“The organization is always willing and happy to give back,” he said.

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