Storm brings man to ENC, community spirit keeps him in area to weather the storm

GRIFTON, N.C. (WNCT) — A nonprofit organization remembers flooding of storms past and is working to use those experiences now to rebound from Hurricane Matthew.

“We helped them rebuild their homes and a lot of them still tell me to this day that they’ll never forget what was done back during that time,” says Billy Tarlton.

Tarlton was sent to Grifton for recovery efforts 17 years ago and never left.

“They call me a Griftonite now  because I’ve been here since Hurricane Floyd back in 99′,” says Tarlton. “It has become home to me.”

Clean-up and rebuilding efforts drastically impacted the tight-knit community of Grifton for years after Floyd. This paved the way for an organization that works daily to change the lived of struggling people.

“Grifton Mission Ministries kind of evolved out of the efforts of the North Carolina Baptist Men during Hurricane Floyd and we’ve been here ever since,” explains Tarlton.

As Hurricane Matthew made its way to North Carolina, Tarlton says he knew they were likely going to need to increase efforts. Little did he know the storm would cause the devastation the Grifton community had already fought to overcome.

“As I looked around and saw the families that I knew we had rebuilt their house or tore it down and put another one there and I remember those faces,” says Tarlton. “They lost everything, even this time when the water went back into their house.”

Grifton Mission Ministries kicked into full gear, providing food, shelter, and other necessities to anyone that needs them. Tarlton says the residents that made him want to stay in the area are the same people that will build their community back up again.

“When you do something and it effects their heart, they never forget that,” says Tarlton.

Grifton Mission Ministries is collecting donations and looking for volunteers. To get in touch with the organization, click here.

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