HIGHLIGHTING HAPPINESS: Hurricane Florence reveals local heroes

By: Andrew Campanella

Last Upated: January 21, 2022


Americans are resilient. We are also compassionate.


In the midst of terrible tragedies, the resilience and compassion of our neighbors shines like sunlight through the dark clouds. Good people work together to build and rebuild communities.

We see this right now in the Carolinas, in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

As I watched the path of the storm, and worried about coworkers and friends who might be in harm’s way, I also looked for stories of good deeds and neighbors supporting each other. There were plenty of those stories to read and share because local heroes are all around us.

Among those heroes were students, teachers, school leaders, and school staff – who worked to help their communities even as their own schools suffered damage or destruction.

Students at one Wake Forest school organized a hurricane relief food drive. One principal stepped up to make sure aid to his hometown didn’t stop just because the rain did. Teachers cooked and served hot meals to local families. A principal collected and distributed toys to children

The school choice community in North Carolina is also working to help families. Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina is spotlighting schools that are working as distribution centers for supplies, like Fayetteville Christian School.

The participating schools are “giving back to their community, right here at home,” said Brian Jodice, PEFNC president.

Leaders from all types of school groups and all political backgrounds put aside whatever differences they may have and joined together to develop FAST NC – Florence Aid to Students and Teachers of North Carolina – within days of the storm.

There is no sugarcoating the damage that Hurricane Florence has brought to the Carolinas – and that other hurricanes, like Harvey, Maria, and Irma – have brought to other parts of our country.  But just when you think the world is overcome with division and sadness, local heroes stand up, stand out, bring people together, and help make their communities better and stronger places. And I think that should make all of us very happy.

Read more: Five Questions with Brian Jodice, executive vice president of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina

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