An open letter from Tryon Mayor

Published 1:56 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2017

I would like to take this opportunity to show my appreciation for the recent support given to the Town of Tryon during the tornado. As you know, we were hit with an EF1 tornado in the afternoon hours of Oct. 8. Winds of up to 95 miles per hour ripped through Tryon and proved what a true force nature can be. As I headed into the fire department, I could see the devastation immediately. Melrose Avenue was unrecognizable, Trade Street was covered in debris, and streets were littered with power lines. Other than the blizzard of 1993, this was unlike any storm I have ever seen.  Please stay with me as I try to surmise the bravery, leadership, and dedication of all who helped into a few words.

I am proud to say that I witnessed firsthand how hard the Tryon Public Works Crews work. We have some of the hardest working staff in the state. These men left the comfort of their homes to spend all night cutting trees, clearing brush, and opening roads so that emergency services could do their job. I am of the opinion that had it not been for our staff, Duke Energy would not have been able to respond so quickly. Our Tryon Works Crews leave their families in the midst of emergencies to care for Tryon and its residents. The dedication they show to this town surpasses anything I have ever seen. This event proved to me that Tryon is more than just a small town; it is a community of friends, families, and loved ones.

The Tryon Fire Department is one of a kind. Its immediate response and the leadership shown made me proud to be the Mayor of our beautiful town. The fire department immediately assessed the situation and worked to create an action plan on how to tackle the problems we faced. Had it not been for their preparedness, this storm could have been a different story.

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The Tryon Police Department impressed more than just me during this event. They impressed every citizen who answered their knocks at the door. Our police made sure to check on homes they felt were impacted by the storm and citizens they knew might need help. The hard work of the men and women in “blue” allowed us to know who needed immediate assistance and medical supplies.

Polk County staff members were quickly on the scene to help assess and implement the Fire Department’s action plans. We were blessed to have Emergency Management Director Bobby Arledge and County Manager Marche Pittman on scene to assist with anything needed.. The next day, County Commissioner Myron Yoder joined them and came to offer support and advice throughout the entire day. This proved to me that no town suffers alone and we face tragedies together. I want to express to everyone how special this county is. We all have our hardships, but I hope that you can see living here means you will never have to go it alone.

Walter Elliot once said that perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other. Please rest assured that if you live here or are looking to move here, we will continue to run for you. We will always persevere and do it with a smile on our face. If you know me, you know I love to brag about my beautiful town, and I love to brag about this county. This town is the place for me, and our response in this disaster proved that it can be the place for you. I think we all realize now, more than ever, what a special Town and what special people we have been blessed with.


J. Alan Peoples, Mayor, Town of Tryon, N.C.