Thanking Polk County leaders for their support through May’s disasters

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Dear Mr. [Marche] Pittman [Polk County manager],

On May 18, 2018, my wife Patty and I became victims of the terrible flash flooding that created a state of emergency in Polk County and throughout western North Carolina. During the flood, we lost our SUV, two travel trailers, our home was flooded and we experienced over 50 downed trees and a mudslide on our property.

Fortunately, we suffered no personal injury. At first light, on the morning of May 19, things looked very bleak indeed.

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What we didn’t fully realize and appreciate, at that moment, was that we are blessed to live in a great county with so many great people.

Almost immediately, local government and NCDOT personnel began their efforts to help us recover.

Your assistant, Ange High, was amazing. Throughout this recovery, she played a critical role in helping us understand what local and state resources might be available to render assistance. Though very busy, she was never too busy to help.

She was knowledgeable, patient and unfailingly upbeat in encouraging us by saying repeatedly, “help is on its way.” She is a great ambassador for Polk County.

We also appreciate your [Pittman’s] personal involvement. One of our biggest issues was debris cleanup. From trees, to mud-filled travel trailers, to debris fields the size of small houses, we were overwhelmed. Your assistance and that of Solid Waste Director Larry Walker was an incredible blessing.

With your help, the seeming impossible task of cleanup began to move rapidly and we could see great progress each day.

The other Polk County “heroes” were the local NCDOT supervisors and their expert teams. We were particularly amazed by the long hours of work, helpfulness and dedication of Mr. Raymond Klovach with NCDOT.

Not just for us, but for all of our neighbors, Raymond’s tireless efforts became a critical key to our recovery. At all times he was compassionate and caring.  Along with Monte McCraw and his crew who helped with debris cleanup, he made the impossible possible.

We feel so badly for those with much greater losses than we experienced, particularly for those who suffered the loss of loved ones.

Again, we have been blessed throughout the recovery process by the support from Polk County government and NCDOT.

Please relay our thanks to the proper officials who need to be made aware of the long hours and hard work of their staff who worked together to make recovery possible.

Patty and I will never forget everyone’s efforts on our behalf.

Thank you.

Mel Collins,