Editorial: Laurens County is spared from Matthew
The Book of Matthew in the Bible tells the story of Jesus. The Hurricane of Matthew is the story of destruction and death and, like the story of Jesus, it’s still being told.
Laurens County was spared for the most part. There were a few scattered power outages and a few trees fell and we had some light rain.
Because we didn’t have much infrastructure damage, the City of Clinton, the Laurens Commission of Public Works and the Laurens Electric Cooperative all were able to send electric utility workers to the coast of South Carolina to help our fellow citizens begin to get their lives back together.
North Carolina was hit the hardest by Matthew. The death toll is rising and is already near two dozen. The rivers of the Tar Heel state continued to rise until the end of last week of the state sheds the torrential rain back to the ocean.
Clinton resident Joe Fuller told his fascinating story to Chronicle Editor Vic MacDonald (on Page 1A) – how he sat stranded for hours and watched the water rise and rise and rise. He was finally helicoptered out of immediate danger.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is getting high marks for the response to Matthew she coordinated with all state agencies. She has gotten little criticism, which is virtually unheard of in our current political climate.
Haley moved quickly, early and decisively. She did not overreact.
A side note in Haley’s hurricane response is that Jason Hurdich, the man who signed the governor’s press conferences became, in the governor’s words, a “rock star.”
His expressions as he signed the words of the governor and other state officials were bright, uplifting moments during a time of anxiousness.
Hurdich, a New York City native, moved to South Carolina two months ago and works for the state’s vocational rehabilitation agency in Charleston.
"I'm a newbie to the state. I love it. It's a beautiful state. People are so friendly,” Hurdich, who was born deaf, told The State newspaper in a story written by, among others, former Chronicle staff writer Bristow Marchant.
Because he couldn’t hear the governor, another voc rehab interpreter sat in front of Hurdich and signed Haley’s back to Hurdich. He then signed the words for those watching on television.
A Matthew evacuee from Murrells Inlet spent six days in Clinton and she writes about her positive experience here on this page. She chose Clinton, she said, not because we have a reputation for being friendly or helpful, but because we were far enough away from the predicted effects of the hurricane.
If she ever has to evacuate again, she promises she’ll be back.
Maybe that could be the city’s new slogan (we need to replace Pride in Service) -- Clinton, a nice place to be when you have to flee.