Column: Dorian took aim at a place loved by many

Published 6:22 am Tuesday, September 10, 2019

I think it’s safe to say I’m not the only one who watched in shock as photos and videos started streaming Friday morning of the devastation taking place on Ocracoke and Hatteras islands Friday morning.

The sound pulling out is never a good sign and when it came rushing back in, the waters just kept rising. Video after video, photo after photo showing the water not just seeping in, but coming back with a vengeance, flooding people’s homes, businesses and cars with no mercy.

Ocracoke has always been special to me, as it is to many. I’ve heard more than one person say they left their heart in Ocracoke, and I’d have to say I feel the same. After feeling heartbroken watching the destruction Hurricane Dorian brought, I cannot fathom what residents must have felt not just watching, but experiencing floodwaters ravage all they hold dear.

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My husband and I were to have been married on Ocracoke Island eight years ago, but Hurricane Irene derailed those plans at the last minute. We had chosen Ocracoke as the location for our big day because of our love for it – the people, the landscape, the remoteness, the vibe. It all comes together to create such an amazing place to be.

Hatteras Island also has a uniqueness all its own – beautiful beaches, great little towns and a vibrant community. I’ve seen time and again that, like Ocracoke’s experience, the floodwaters came up in places they hadn’t before and in levels that had not been anticipated.

Flooding may inundate property and houses and businesses, but it will hopefully not take over the spirit of these areas so special to us. There is a resiliency to the people living there that tells me all will be back as it should be – maybe better than ever.

It is heartening to see the quick response to bring aid to those who need it and I would encourage anyone who is able to help these communities. It’s going to take more than just emergency management to get things back in order. We should all contribute however we can – whether monetarily, through volunteerism or in some other individual way that will contribute to helping people get back on their feet.

I live on Roanoke Island and feel lucky compared to our neighbors just to the south. Sure, the northern communities have been seriously impacted. Innumerable trees and power lines are down – some onto or even in houses – and two popular fishing piers have sustained major damage, some roofs have been lost, but overall it could have been worse. Just look south.

Driving around Roanoke Island and the beach towns on Saturday, it was reassuring to see linemen all over the place – and I mean all over. I don’t remember when I’ve seen so many. Tree contractors were out, residents were getting things back to normal, friends and neighbors were helping each other out. While none of us ever wants to experience a hurricane, it is always nice to see how the community comes together after one of these events.

Let’s keep it going and help where we can. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, it all makes a difference.

While we don’t usually run photos on the editorial page, I’ve chosen to add some from the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office of responders coming to the aid of Ocracoke residents after Dorian’s destruction to highlight their fast response. There are many other unsung heroes who have assisted during not just this storm, but any number of other situations all over our area. When you see any first responders or volunteers out and about, thank them for their service.

Theresa Schneider is publisher of The Coastland Times. Reach her at