This story has been updated to reflect the official count of missions the 881st completed in Brunswick County, and to fix the characterization of the anecdote about a woman who had laid planks over a hole to get out of her trailer park.
ROCKINGHAM — The work to recover from Hurricane Florence finally has ended for the National Guard’s 881st Engineer Support Company, stationed in Rockingham.
The company sent 50 soldiers to Brunswick County, which took the brunt of the storm, on Sept. 12 and — after completing about 25 missions over that time span — they’ve done all they can do.
“There’s still work to be done, but we’re at the limit of our capabilities,” said Sgt. 1st Class Clifton Pryce. “The Department of Transportation takes over now.”
The 881st, with the support of the 236th Brigade Engineer Battalion, focused on repairing washed-out roads, which required them to clean up dirt and debris that had collected, and fill in eroded areas and cover them with asphalt.
Many residents couldn’t get back to their homes as the result of high water levels, including one woman on dialysis whom the soldiers helped, said Spc. Matt Woolever of Monroe.
Pryce said one road led into and out of the woman’s mobile home park, but a hole sat in the middle of it. In order for the women to make it to her thrice-weekly doctor’s appointments, the woman had laid two wooden planks across the hole so she could drive over it.
“(The residents) were very grateful and thanked us,” said Spc. Philip Waddell Jr. of Rockingham, adding that residents supplied the soldiers with food and other things they needed during their stay. “I thank them for their hospitality.”
Waddell said the soldiers would work from about 6 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. each day, repairing damage.
The company was one of the last National Guard units assisting affected areas along the coast, Pryce said.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2774 or [email protected]