PTK Students, Advisor Assist with Hurricane Cleanup

Standing in front of household items damaged by floodwaters produced by Hurricane Florence, PCC's George Cherry Jr., Joy Moses-Hall (left to right) and Shelley Freeman (right) pose for a photo with Craven Community College alumna Michelle Clark.

WINTERVILLE—When a student honor society at a nearby community college issued a call for help in the wake of Hurricane Florence, a pair of Pitt Community College honor students and their Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society advisor were quick to respond.

Late in the evening on Sept. 18, Craven Community College’s PTK chapter requested assistance for one of its former members affected by the hurricane. After finishing their classes the following day, PCC students Shelley Freeman and George Cherry headed to New Bern with Science Instructor Joy Moses-Hall to help clean up the flood-damaged home of Michelle Clark, a Craven alumna and former Marine.

“The PTK chapter (at Craven) contacted us on Tuesday at 10 p.m., and our students, Shelley Freeman and George Cherry, were on the ground assisting 20 hours later,” Hall said. “Water from the Neuse River had risen two feet into the house we worked, and everything inside smelled of raw sewage. We removed soaked items and furniture and piled them by the curb, then pulled up waterlogged carpets and padding.”

Hall said the PCC group assisted with the cleanup for approximately two hours before heading back to Pitt County before sunset. “I wanted to be back north of Vanceboro by dark, since the Neuse was still rising toward its second peak,” she said. ”But we actually got quite a bit done. There was some urgency to it all because insurance won’t pay if houses are allowed to sit wet and grow molds.”

Hurricane Florence, according to Hall, caused catastrophic damage in New Bern and surrounding areas.

“Starting at Vanceboro and heading south, there was water on both sides of Route 43 nearly to the roadway, until water gave way to piles of trees and branches,” she said. “And that gave way to piles of furniture and carpets and soaked household items, rising like the walls of a tunnel as we got closer [to New Bern].”

To further assist their neighbors to the southeast, PCC PTK members are collecting various supplies to help Craven Community College get back on its feet. Hall said collection bins are located in the Walter & Marie Williams Building (outside Rooms 120 and 128), Robert Lee Humber Building (Room 111) and Craig F. Goess Student Center.

A list of the items being collected includes water, blankets, books, first aid supplies, diapers, cleaning products, clothing, non-perishable food, puzzles, toddler toys, respiratory masks, work gloves, feminine hygiene products, garbage bags, storage containers, tarps and various toiletries. Gas cards and grocery gift cards are also welcomed.