Mary White of the Health Sciences Library utilized Community Service Leave to volunteer with the Carolina Center for Public Service’s disaster recovery trip to Tarboro, NC on December 9, 2016. She has also worked in disaster response over the past 5 years with the North Carolina-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team and the Northeast North Carolina Medical Reserve Corps unit.

“As an undergrad at UNC-CH, I volunteered with the Town of Chapel Hill for Hurricane Floyd recovery efforts over 17 years ago, in Speed, NC, a little town in northeast North Carolina. After Hurricane Matthew hit, I saw the Carolina Center for Public Service trip to Tarboro and Princeville, NC, two towns near where I originally volunteered. I immediately signed up, and was delighted to join faculty, staff, and students to travel “out east”. My family is from northeast North Carolina, so it was quite meaningful to go there to help out.

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“We connected with the community through the local Methodist church, whose parent organization has a substantial disaster response unit, drawing volunteers from as far away as Canada. Our group worked at two houses. At one, we helped a gentleman move furniture from his house, so that he could repair and replace flooring and walls affected by the floods. At the neighboring house, we helped to move the contents of the house to the roadside, to be picked up later by trash haulers.

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“During the trip, we were able to help out for a day in this flood ravaged area, but we were also able to learn about the history of the area, the impact that flooding had in the past, and the structural and social reasons why it happened again. We found out that these houses had been affected by Hurricane Floyd almost 2 decades ago, and again the owners were having to start over, gut, and rebuild their houses. It was sad to see people’s belongings having to be thrown away due to the flooding and mold, and a delicate thing to handle someone else’s memories.” -Mary White, Health Sciences Library

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