ELIZABETHTOWN — Mayor Sylvia Campbell had not heard from anyone in Kentucky recently. Then she read an email.
Elizabethtown, it turns out, has been adopted — by Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
“This is so special,” she said.
Though they wish for no credit, the idea traces to reporter Katherine Knott and Jeff D’Alessio at The News-Enterprise, the daily newspaper in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. D’Alessio is the news editor.
Hearing about the 3 feet of rainfall and devastation from Hurricane Florence in North Carolina, the reporter pitched a story idea linked by the communities sharing the same name. D’Alessio took it another step, of how to help, and carried the idea to Mayor Edna Berger.
The response was overwhelmingly positive, with City Hall in the Bluegrass State fully on board.
“Our city of about 30,000 people want to ‘adopt’ Elizabethtown, NC and get supplies and funds to help with the recovery of your area,” D’Alessio wrote in an email to the Bladen Journal.
What happens next will be decided between mayors Berger and Campbell. But essentially, Campbell will share the needs of her roughly 3,600-resident Bladen County community. The News-Enterprise will have a story in its Sunday edition.
D’Alessio said the donations will roll in.
“It’s a very caring community,” he told the Bladen Journal by phone.
And soon, aid from strangers related by name will be on the way south.
“Things like this make you realize what our country is about,” Campbell said Thursday afternoon. “It brings the good out in people.”
She thought of the last week, since Florence’s arrival in Wrightsville Beach about 7:15 a.m. Friday. The storm stayed in the area for roughly three days, picking up moisture from the Atlantic Ocean and depositing it onto the Carolinas.
Elizabethtown picked up 35.93 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service’s preliminary rainfall totals. The Cape Fear River, which runs through the county, is at historic levels not seen since 1945 and already above what Hurricane Matthew did in October 2016.
“I’ve seen the most miraculous things come from this,” Campbell said. “It’s been a full-time job to keep up with the things people want to do to help. The other night we had two groups cooking dinner for the same FEMA group, but that’s a good problem to have, and we handled it. We got some of the food to the folks in Bladenboro who needed it.”
After learning Elizabethtown, Kentucky, was wanting to adopt Elizabethtown, North Carolina, the mayor in the Old North State said ‘it makes you realize what our country is about. It brings the good out of people.’
Chrysta Carroll can be reached at 910-862-4163 or email@example.com. Alan Wooten can be reached at 910-247-9132 or firstname.lastname@example.org.