RED SPRINGS — Good news travels fast.
Just ask Bradley Boberg’s phone, which has been ringing constantly since Hurricane Florence’s rude visit.
The pastor of First Baptist Church in Red Springs is getting pleas from people who had heard that Boberg and about 25 other volunteers were clearing fallen trees and debris from people’s yards after Florence finally left.
“I’ll get calls from people or somebody will stop by. When you start doing this work, your phone starts ringing,” Boberg said. “They’re just appreciative. From large trees to small trees, they’ve got to get it out of the yard or off the house. They call me and we go do it.
“Your phone number gets passed on real quick in times like this.”
The group, made up mostly of church members from First Baptist Church, Trinity United Methodist Church and Red Springs Presbyterian Church, responded with an army of chainsaws and hands to haul limbs and debris to the roadside.
“It’s just a nice spirit of love and unity within Red Springs,” Boberg said. “We don’t ask questions, we just ask if we can come get the tree out of the yard. Most people say yes.”
The crew worked for more than four hours on Tuesday, jumping from house call to house call, and stumbling across other downed trees while enroute. In two days, they cleared more than 40 trees from 20 yards, with many leaning on buildings or on top of toppled power lines that cut power to residents.
Several volunteers were in the same situation as many they were helping, without power, including the pastor’s home until late Monday.
The group did the same work after Hurricane Matthew, but Florence didn’t leave as big a mess.
“During Matthew we cleared well over 150 trees from 75 different sites around town,” Boberg said. “This time the wind damage was far less.”
While the town is working to restore normalcy, Boberg said the group’s work is a way to kick-start the rebuilding.
“Sometimes just getting a tree or a little debris out of somebody’s yard gives them hope about moving forward,” Boberg said. “Robeson County has been devastated twice in two years from hurricanes. … We will probably do some gut out, flood out work in the coming weeks when the waters get lower. It’s just a start to move forward.”
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.