No matter how things evolve during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence’s visit, we firmly believe Bladen County has been served well by its leadership in preparation.
There’s an insurance company with a catchy phrase that actor and pitchman J.K. Simmons delivers. With a little free licensing and paraphrasing, we would offer that Bladen County knows a thing or two because it has seen a thing or two when it comes to hurricanes.
Matthew was hard and the recovery, even two years later, is not complete.
We believe Florence will be unique, not necessarily comparable to Matthew in all aspects. Both will be remembered for destruction, property loss and the change of lives. The stats will vary, but the hardships will be no less painful.
Bradley Kinlaw is our director of Emergency Management. He hurt with the rest of us two years ago, as did all of our leaders. What he didn’t do was miss an opportunity.
He’s in the spotlight through the weekend. Things will happen; he’ll be sought to fix what he can, to advise what is best. And he’ll have a resource.
Like a lot of others when Matthew struck, he kept notes on what happened and what was done. Some call it debriefing, he calls it after action review. We like his term better.
His notes are fresh, and he reviewed every last one this past weekend when it became clear Florence wasn’t going to miss a kiss with the Crystal Coast.
He and his team also did one other thing in 2016. They talked. They communicated not only among themselves, but with others in the community.
And when this past weekend’s news started to show a forecast for landfall on the southeastern coastline of the U.S., the talking started again across all county departments, and with stakeholders in helping Bladen County survive catastrophe.
We won’t hold anyone to a standard of perfection. We do appreciate responsible leadership, the ones we can count on and know that when they speak up during times of hardship, it is a good idea to listen and take heed.
Storms like Florence remind us that, at times, Bladen County is challenged by being rural in nature, large in geography and not heavily populated. We need all of us pulling together, on the same page.
Arguably, such a time is never more needed than the adversity of a destructive storm. Sheriff Jim McVicker thinks it may be unlike anything seen in several generations. Those old enough to remember what happened during Hazel in the 1950s, who saw Matthew two years ago, and who witnessed the dozens of other storms in between will have perspective.
All we could do this week is prepare the best way we know how. To that end, Bladen County has been served well.