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Interview with Gary Holland, transcript

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  • Holland 1 Name of Interviewee: Gary Holland Name of Interviewer: Kellie Rogers Date: April 7, 2022 Location: Franklin, NC Length: 49:52 Interview with Gary Holland Kellie Rogers: Start with your name. What's your name? Gary Holland: Gary Holland KR: Alright. And are you aware you're being recorded? GH: Yes. KR: Alight. How long have you lived in Macon County? GH: Seventy years. [Laughs]. KR: And tell us a little bit about what you do for your job. GH: Well, I'm director of missions for forty-six Baptist churches, an Association of churches. That's basically to promote nations and promote unity among all the churches. KR: Mhhm. So, off the top of your head, what do you remember about Peeks Creek? GH: Well, I was in Clyde when it happened KR: Mhmm. GH: From Hurricane Francis, and I came over here the night it happened, and met with the emergency management guy, Warren Cabe, to offer him help if we needed it. KR: Yeah. GH: And then I went back to Clyde about eleven o’clock that night. And so that was Thursday night, and then Friday morning, I got a call from a fire department person from Cullasaja and said that Peeks Creek had been wiped out. And I need to, I was on my way back anyway, but could we come over here. And we came and we set up a feeding unit at First Baptist, for volunteers. KR: Mhmm. Holland 2 GH: And from there, we moved to Pine Grove. We stayed there about a week. Then we went to Holly Springs. And that was supposed to be permanent, but in the meantime, we got to use the old Macon County Co-op. And we renovated the building out there, and that's where we stayed to the end of it. KR: Yeah. So, some of those places aren't necessarily close to Peeks Creek, so how did that work? GH: Well, we didn't have much choice because we had a, well Peeks Creek, Pine Grove was closest to Peeks Creek. KR: Yeah. GH: But they didn't have no cell service much. So that was a hindrance, getting communications. So, we had a landline put in the fellowship hall, that's where we worked out of. And that helped a lot. And then we concentrated, and there wasn’t a whole lot we could do at Peeks Creek. There wasn’t nothing there to do anything with [laughs]. KR: Yeah [laughs]. GH: But, but we've worked in other parts of the county too. In houses that were flooded. And, when basically we done all we could do at Peeks Creek we moved. That’s when we moved to Holly Springs so, it would sort of be center of the county. KR: Yeah. So, what did it feel like living through a disaster that was in your own community? GH: Well probably, like everything. It happened so fast. I’ve been in a lot of disasters before that. And, but you never have a connection with the people at them disasters. They're just people. This was people that we knew and grew up with, and, friends and neighbors. KR: Yeah. GH: That's probably the biggest difference. KR: Yeah. GH: And if you go to a disaster somewhere else, you hear all kinds of terrible stories, but it's hard to relate to their families and what they’re going through because. But here, you knew everybody, or basically everybody. And you felt more connected, I guess. Not that you wanted to do more for them because they was your folks. But probably you wanted to try to reach out a little bit more. KR: Yeah. So, would you describe Macon County as a whole as a close-knit community? GH: Yeah, I would. Maybe not as much now? Well, it probably is. Holland 3 KR: Yeah. GH: And you saw that at the benefit last Saturday night. KR: Mhmm. GH: That's the most. I mean there was all kinds of people there. And I went down. But that's the most money I've ever seen raised at a benefit. KR: Really? GH: $80,000 KR: Yeah. GH: Or probably more than that by now KR: Wow. GH: A lot of money. KR: So, you feel how. You feel like it's changed over time? Like, has it separated at all? GH: Well, people in Macon County will come together if there’s a need. KR: Mhmm. GH: They won’t let it go. They’ll. Whatever it is, some kind of service or financial help. They still come together pretty good. KR: Yeah. So, does this community relationship change, especially during major events like Peeks Creek do you feel like? GH: Probably at the time it did. KR: Yeah. GH: And people up there they was from, and I don't know, all the people that houses destroyed. I think they said there was 15 houses destroyed. But, and I didn't know most of them. I knew a few, I went to church with one lady lost her house and lost her son, and her newborn. Well, it wasn’t a newborn it wasn’t even born. So. KR: Yeah. Holland 4 GH: And Glenn Holland, Glenn, and Aileen Holland, they had been coming to Clyde to help out. But they left Thursday morning, coming back to Franklin. And, of course their house sits up on the hill, and it wasn’t affected, but they was instrumental in helping people. KR: Mhmm. GH: A lot of people came to their house [in Peeks Creek]. His sister‘s house got destroyed, his son's house got destroyed. And that's, we sort of used their house as the base for volunteers to come. You couldn't get up the road. They had to hike in from down below go up through the woods. And Sunday morning the sheriff's department and rescue people wouldn't let anybody into Peeks Creek. So, Glenn came to town for some reason on Saturday, and I got up with him. KR: Yeah. GH: And told him that we had a lot of volunteers that want to come up there on Sunday and help. So, he went back and told the Sheriff or whoever's in charge of all that, that they was coming and so that's how we got in there. It was Sunday morning before we got there. KR: Before they let anybody in. GH: And that's, that's probably quicker than most volunteers get in. KR: Yeah. GH: Because, well up there the water had gone down, but places were still flooded. Roads were still flooded by then. KR: So GH: That was probably as quick as you could get up there. KR: Yeah. So was the only way in like to hike in? GH: Yeah. KR: Did they have like certain sections blocked off? GH: You couldn't get up the road. As far as you could get was, this may not mean anything to you, but Mable Thomas’s house. A big old white farmhouse on the right. You know where Peeks Creek bridge is? KR: Yes. GH: The next house on the right. That old big white house. KR: Mhmm. Holland 5 GH: And there was a tremendous amount of debris piled up against it. Stopped at her house. It just floated up to the end of it and stopped. KR: Yeah. GH: That's as far as you get. And you had to walk in and they wouldn't let anybody up wherever the road was. You know, do you remember Jean VanAaron. KR: I don't. GH: Well, he lived up on Fishhawk1 and he had a grading business, so he came out early that morning and wherever, he had a track hoe parked somewhere, and he brought it up there and he started cleaning the roadway back up through there [laughs]. KR: [laughs] GH: And he probably wasn’t supposed to, but Jean didn't care [laughs]. KR: Yeah [laughs]. GH: And he worked for days up in there with that track hoe. And your daddy2 and myself and somebody else we came up with a fifty-five, well not a fifty-five, but one of those like two-hundred-and-fifty-gallon heating oil barrels that stands up on a stand and we filled it up with gasoline and took it up there and set it where we... Jean had cleared out a little road about where you get to where you turn up to Glenn’s house. And we set it there for people to use for generators. To keep them running. KR: Oh, yeah. GH: And I don’t know how long it lasted for. Let me close that. KR: You’re good [laughs]. GH: But we, we had a lot of generators up in there that people were using. And I guess a lot of people left and went to their families somewhere and stayed. KR: Yeah, I was going to say, so did they stay within like people's houses within the community, just strangers’ houses, or did they leave, or where did they go? GH: Well, the majority of these houses was summer homes. The first of them it hit, I can't remember the lady’s, I tried to remember last night the lady's name, she lived by herself. And her bedroom was in the back of it the way the flow came down. But sometime in the night she got up and went to the living room and slept. And I think she called her sister and told her they was 1 Name of the mountain where the mudslide occurred. 2 Kevin Rogers Holland 6 having a terrible storm up there. Well, that mudslide slammed into her house, and the bedroom was where it went in first and it was just a room full of logs, and mud, and rocks. And it knocked the house sort of off the foundation. And there was a rock fireplace on the other end of it. Well, it knocked that chimney flat on the ground. And when the rescue people got up there Friday morning, they couldn't find that woman. They didn't know if she was in that bedroom or what. But she got out and walked up, that road goes into Gold Mine. She'd walked up the road to some neighbors and was staying with them. But it was a day before anybody realized. Before they found her. KR: I was going to say, Gold Mine is pretty far from there [laughs]. GH: Yeah [laughs]. Well, she didn’t go in Gold Mine. There’s some houses right at the end of Peeks Creek where it starts into Gold. Where you go up to Gold Mine there’s some. She was there. And Jackie West and a bunch from Cowee, he took his track go up there and they started in that bedroom pulling out debris. She told him her wedding ring was on a nightstand in there. And they found that wedding ring in all that mess. KR: Oh, wow. GH: That's a miracle right there [laughs]. KR: Yeah, it is. [laughs] GH: I don’t see how they found it. They stayed up there like three or four days and they went through it piece by piece. KR: And that was just one house. GH: Going through that bedroom and got that lady's. Since then, the house had been torn down. Well, everything's been torn down since then. KR: Yeah. GH: But that was the first house it hit. And I think it, if I remember right, it was like two miles away where it started. Now you can still see the effects of it up on the mountain. KR: Yeah. GH: It's just bare rock down through there. KR: So, do you know what caused it to happen? GH: Well, they said, we didn't have much damage from Hurricane Frances. That was two weeks before. But they said that water had pocketed up there. And then when this storm hit, I think it dropped like twelve inches of rain in four or five hours. Holland 7 KR: Yeah. GH: It all just flooded over and started. And there was, there was boulders down there around them houses. They was as big as cars [laughs]. KR: Wow. [laughs] GH: You know that little stream is not very big at normal times. What two or three feet wide? KR: Yeah. GH: But it brought a lot of stuff down through there. KR: Yeah. So, it was really the two hurricanes together that caused it. GH: Yeah. KR: So close together. GH: The first one didn't do a whole lot of damage. It probably didn't do any damage, but it just, I guess saturated the soil so much up there. And I'm assuming Fishhawk, it’s just one big rock. KR: Yeah. GH: With dirt on it and trees and trees on top of it over the years. KR: So, what were some other ways that the community came together? Like any like town government or other things? GH: Well, they set up an emergency council through like social services, and through a lot of departments. But the trouble with that is, there's so much red tape involved in it. KR: Mhmm. GH: It takes forever. I mean, North Carolina emergency services came in, as well as the local services, emergency services. And they're good to have but it takes so long for you get any help from them. It's all about paperwork. KR: Yeah. GH: Have to go to one place, and then FEMA probably came in too but, I'm sure they did. KR: Yeah. GH: But, and FEMA’s there just for a short time to help out. Holland 8 KR: [laughs]. GH: And, and that’s just tax money, FEMA is. And there had been so many storms. That’s, when all the hurricanes came through Florida. KR: Mhmm. GH: We went to the same, probably, first of September, we went to Pine Castle, Florida for Hurricane Charley. Then the next week we was going to go to Melbourne, Florida for the hurricane, but instead the Baptist Men called me and wanted to know if I’d drive over to Canton. They said somebody said they had a little flooding over there and didn't think there was much to it. Well, I drove over there and couldn’t even get in town it was flooded so bad [laughs]. KR: Oh my gosh [laughs]. GH: So that’s when we set up in, we had two operations, one in Clyde First Baptist and one at a church in Canton. And so, I was over there two weeks until I came back over here. KR: Yeah. GH: But I think there was five people that lost their lives. They didn't, they didn’t find one man. One couple lived in Pensacola, Florida. They had left. The storm came through Pensacola, so they left, and they had a summer home up on Peeks Creek. And they had some children and they was across the road with some neighbors when it hit and the man and wife both got killed. He was the last one they found. They found him behind the river down there behind the BP on the Highlands Road. KR: Oh wow. GH: It was about two weeks later before they found him. And I don’t know where they found his wife at, but I wanna say they was, their last name was Watts, I believe. KR: Yeah. GH: Pretty sure it was. Do you know, Marilyn Holland? KR: I don't. GH: Well, She's Marilyn Jones. That’s Glenn Holland’s sister. KR: Oh. GH: She had just bought a new car. And when I saw it, it wasn’t but about that wide it looked like a cartoon car [signals about 3 feet with his hands] [laughs]. KR: Oh, wow [laughs]. Holland 9 GH: Not length way, but width way. KR: Yeah. GH: It wasn't that wide where it had been involved in that. KR: It was smashed in. Golly. So, do you feel like what the town did was effective? Based on the limitations they had? GH: Yeah, yeah. KR: Yeah? Were there any parts that weren't as effective? GH: We had, through the Baptist Men, we had all the volunteers come from other parts of the state to help. And people wondered why local people, a lot of local people did jump in and help, but they still had to work. KR: Yeah. GH: So, that's one factor in why local people can't do but so much. KR: Yeah. GH: We did a lot of work in Cullasaja Circle, right across from the old Cullasaja school, down in there, because about every house there got flooded. KR: Wow. GH: We cleaned all them out, most of them. And Stevie. Do you remember Stevie? KR: Mhmm. GH: He was building his house down there. And he hadn’t put the roof on, the trusses, and he went up there that night and chained them to a tree. Or he wouldn't have had any I guess. They would have floated off. That’s how he saved the trusses for his house. KR: Wow. GH: When we started rebuilding, helping people get back in their houses, we had several teams go out there and help Stevie. In one sense it was damaged and in one sense it wasn’t really but. KR: Yeah. GH: But, people liked. Guys liked going out there and working with Stevie because, you know how Stevie was [laughs]. Holland 10 KR: Yeah [laughs]. Oh man. So, do you feel like the Baptist Association had more leniency with what they could do? Rather than like town officials? GH: Yeah. Because, it's like that everywhere they go. There's no red tape much. If you see a need and you can take care of it, you do it. And you don't have to be nobody's permission, well there’s forms that homeowners have to sign and stuff like that. But I don’t know how it is now. Now a days they use a lot of state money, back then you didn't you just ran off of donations. KR: Mhmm. GH: But now they get, like over at the Haywood County over there, Cruso. KR: Yeah. GH: We're going over there on Wednesday and Thursday, and they're building a new house for a couple. Your daddy is supposed to go with me. We’re going put a foundation in for it. But that's off of state money. State’s designate so much money for disasters. KR: Yeah. GH: And I'm sure that's, well that happened last August or September and now we're in April and it’s just come available so see how it just takes a long time. KR: Yeah. GH: And homeowners, they get discouraged and worn out and stuff like that. But usually, the Baptist Men they just go in and they got the money to do so much and they don't have... KR: Yeah, they just do it. GH: To have a lot of permission from anybody, just because they’re a faith-based organization. KR: Mhmm. GH: And I remember Jeff King was director of missions here then. And he said they were having a meeting. It was at the, I think it was at the high school. Do they still have the Fine Arts building over there? KR: They do. GH: It was there, for the community. They had all the agencies involved. The federal, the state, and we was on the end. We was the least of them all [laughs]. KR: [laughs]. Holland 11 GH: Well, when they mentioned the Macon Baptist Association, we got a standing ovation. KR: Wow. GH: And the question was how come we can come immediately and help, and all those other agencies are still trying to figure out what to do. And. KR: It goes back to that red tape. GH: It still goes back to Faith based. If whoever's in charge thinks there's a need there you just take care of it and move on. KR: Yeah. So, do you feel like without the close relationships in the community, rehabilitation would have been halted or would not have been completed as quickly? GH: Well, it had probably been harder to do. Of course, you always call in volunteers from the state, but especially in this end, we don't operate the same way they do down East. KR: Yeah. GH: Usually, not everybody, but down East, they maybe get a little bit better, but people wait for somebody to come help them. People up here are a little bit more independent. They take care of it themselves if they can. And that's basically the difference. Over the years that's what I've seen. And like when we was in Gulfport, if wasn’t for, and all the Gulf Coast, If it wasn’t for faith based organizations, people would have never got back in their houses. KR: Yeah. GH: Because there’s just so much red tape in all that? KR: Do you think it's because down East they're closer to like government leaders? GH: Say that again? KR: Do you think it's because down East they're right near Raleigh and closer to all the government people? GH: Well, that might be something to do with it, but I wouldn't think so. I think it's just the different types of people. People up here are more independent, and just don't ask for help. KR: Mhmm. GH: Just do it yourself, and don't worry about nobody coming to help you because they’re not going to come [laughs]. Holland 12 KR: [laughs]. So do you, so, when you first heard about what happened, did you feel urgency to just come and help? Or did you, like, how did it make you feel individually? GH: Well, Edith and myself had already left Clyde that morning. And all the stuff that volunteers had cleaned out of the houses was piled on the sides of the road. As we was leaving, it was all just floating back around again [laughs]. KR: Oh my gosh. GH: But we was coming home anyway. KR: Yeah. GH: And the call came that I needed to come over here, and they said, Peeks Creek was destroyed, and there's probably at least seventy-five dead. And I thought, “Man, that's a big number.” KR: Yeah. GH: I didn’t know if seventy-five people lived on Peeks Creek or not but. And you always get into a situation where people get excited if we don't deal with it on a full-time basis. It’s always exaggerated, but nobody knew. Nobody knew how many people was in there. And there was water and rescue, water rescue outreach from Charlotte and stuff, and they was up in there. Well, they was everywhere. And they was trying to find out who all were actually, probably some houses was empty. There wasn’t anybody. But I think Christie Hooper's mother-in-law got, she was one of them that died. And then her son. You know, she lost her leg in it. So, you'll never, at that point, you don't never know. It could have very well been seventy-five people if it had been real populated, I guess. KR: Yeah. So, when her son died, and she lost her newborn, did her newborn die, because of the stress that she was under? GH: Well, I think so. I'm not sure. KR: Yeah. GH: I would think that would play a part in it. KR: Yeah, but it's, but it was pretty soon after? GH: Yeah. Well, it wasn’t a newborn, it hadn’t been born yet. KR: Oh. GH: I think she was pregnant with a baby. I believe best I can remember. I can check and make sure on that if you want me to. Holland 13 KR: Yeah. So, were there any warnings of severe flooding or damage, potential damage to landscapes before it happened? GH: Well, probably there was. Just a regular weather newscast. I'm sure. Well, I don't know if there was any warning of a tornado or anything. Some people said there was a tornado that hit up there. But I don't, I don't believe that was ever verified if it was not. It was just a lot of rain on that mountain that came down. KR: Yeah. GH: It just started snowballing down through there. KR: Yeah, so what was Edith's job in the rehabilitation? GH: Well, she actually done more than I did [laughs]. KR: Typical. [laughs]. GH: The association started getting money to help. And I don’t know how much money, but there was a lot of money that came through here to help people. And Jeff kept up, and Cindy kept up with it. But then the Baptist Men. Of course, you don't need a whole lot of money when you’re cleaning out houses. But they said to help people rebuild. So, they said they would give $4,000 per house to have rebuilt. So, Edith took care of all that. She’d have to pull out what association... And when we started out, Jeff had so much money for it he said let’s don't use the Baptist Men’s money, we'll use ours. Well, we did that for about a month. And then Richard Russet had called, and he said, “How come our money’s not being used?” and I said, “Well, we got money here.” “Well, yeah, but that money's designated for Macon County, it’s got to be used.” So, we started using it too. And we built, we built one new house for Rodney, Glenn’s son. We built one for him. And I don't know what it costed. Of course, they didn't pay all of it. Well, they designated they’d give $10,000 to a new house. The Baptist Men did. And I don’t know how much it ended up that they gave, but that's how he got his house built. And then when it was all said and done, again, I don't know the numbers, but they divided what money they had left over equally among people in Peeks Creek that lost their houses. Whoever was still left up there. KR: So, they could use that for whatever they felt they needed. GH: Yeah. KR: So, were there any like specific supplies needed at the time for the people? Like clothes, nonperishables, water? GH: Well, yeah. We provided a lot of water. And then when we set up a feeding unit at Pine Grove, that was for volunteers and homeowners. We fed everybody for a pretty good while. We did it at Holly Springs too, but then after everybody’s power gets back on, you sort of phase out Holland 14 the homeowners and you just feed the volunteers. That's what we did from there on out. Especially, well, we had a kitchen out there at the co-op building. We'd have volunteers, that's where they ate three meals a day, but some church groups would come and eat that was helping too. We’d feed anybody that came through there [laughs]. KR: You're good at that [laughing]. So, how long did the rehabilitation process last? GH: Well, we started rebuilding. And in all of this going on, Jeff and myself, when Larry Eisenhower was pastor of Briartown church, one church in the Association over in Nantahala, and he lived in Robbinsville. So, he was gone that day, but his wife was taking a shower, and they just raised a little granddaughters about three and four, their house caught on fire and she died in it. KR: Oh. GH: His wife did. So, we went over and visited him and made the plan that we would use the Baptist Men volunteers to rebuild the house. Of course, he had insurance. It wasn’t like he had to give out money. But, and we did that with volunteers also over there. And I was just back and forth. And then in the 29tth of August that year , well, in 2005, a year later, was when Katrina hit, and I would go down there a week at a time and coordinate work things. And then, first of November I went to stay. And then Edith, she came January the first to stay. So, we was down there 30 months. KR: Wow. GH: But, but by then that everything here was taken care of. The majority of it was. For flooded people. Everybody was back in their house and there was a few things, but the house over at Robbinsville was still being finished up. KR: Yeah. GH: And volunteers finally got it finished up. And finally, I think he had more than enough money. So, like electricians and plumber’s and stuff he just hired somebody do that for him. KR: Yeah. And just use the volunteers to help. GH: Yeah. Because some things volunteers just can't do well [laughs]. KR: [laughs]. GH: If you get an electrical man with an electrical business, they can wire a house. But, it’s, some things you just, the average volunteer can't do. KR: Yeah. Yeah. So, you'd say about a year before things were somewhat back to normal? GH: Mhmm, yeah. By August of 2005, about a year later, about everything was back to normal. Holland 15 KR: So how has the community changed since then? The Peeks Creek community. GH: Well, the Peeks Creek community? KR: Mhmm. GH: Well, I guess if you went up there, go up there now, you’d never know what it looked like before, but you’d never know anything had ever happened. But I think the biggest thing that changed up there was maybe the closeness of the residents living in that community. Cause their, and then, all that property the state won't let you build back on it. So, it's condemned. And so, I don't know who owns it. If the county or the state owns that property now where them houses were down in that creek, but you can't do anything with it. KR: Wow. GH: As far as building a house back. And we worked on a house over here, if you go up the back side of the river up Wells Grove Road. There was a house down by the river, it got flooded and we worked on it quite a bit. But they opted for a buy out from the state, so the state came in and just tore it down. And that always happens everywhere. KR: Yeah. GH: You could work on a house and put a lot of money into it and then the state finally two or three years later they'll come through and say, “We’ll just buy it.” When they do, they just tear it down and that land is condemned. KR: Wow. GH: You can’t build back on it. KR: So, it just sits there? GH: Yeah. KR: So, is a lot of the community like that? Like there's not near as many properties there anymore? GH: Well, you can build in the floodplain, that's what we're doing over at Cruso at the house their building, it’s in the floodplain. And a lot of houses here, especially on the Cullasaja river is in the floodplain, and down the Tennessee river, but you can build there. But you have to go through a lot of different engineering stuff. KR: Yeah. Holland 16 GH: And you have to raise them up so high. I think that one over there at Cruso, it’s got to be nine blocks high off the ground for it to be built back. And I don't know what the original house looked like. It’s all gone. But you can still build in a floodplain, but it's pretty expensive. There’s things you have to do, they make you do. KR: Yeah. So, would you say the Peeks Creek community now is more summer homes and visitors, or is it locals to the community? GH: Well, on the right-hand side of the road going up they wasn’t affected. Nothing was affected on that side [laughs]. KR: Wow GH: And I know Miss, do you know Shirley Stiles? KR: Yes. GH: Her mother lived up there, Liola. She never woke up during all that. KR: Oh my gosh. GH: She got up the next morning and looked out the door and the community was gone [laughs]. KR: Wow [laughs]. GH: But yeah, all the way up through there on the right-hand side, them people’s still there. Miss Liola’s passed away since then. I don’t know if anybody’s in her house or not but it’s still standing there. But on the left-hand side, they’re all gone. KR: Yeah. So, do you feel like events like Peeks Creek has affected how people from Macon County choose to aid in other events like the recent Canton floods? Like are they more apt to serve? GH: Well, usually when some calamity happens, you get more volunteers. But after time people forget about it and it’s harder to… And you got to keep it on people's minds. KR: Yeah. GH: I'm sure over there. Well, Cruso, I went over there two or three days. A lot of volunteers, local people helping. But now they’ve all gone along with their lives, and so we're just doing these houses with volunteers that come in. KR: Yeah. Holland 17 GH: And most of them is retired people that's got the time. Because a young man in his thirties that’s got a wife and two kids, and a house payment, and two car payments, they just can’t take off a week at a time. KR: Yeah. Yeah. GH: But that’s just the way it is. KR: So, did the Baptist Association send people in from other places? Or was it just like the local men? GH: No, we had volunteers from all over the state come. KR: Yeah. GH: We had volunteers from, one group came from Southport, you know that’s on the coast? KR: Mhmm. GH: We had a lot of volunteers just come from all over the state. KR: So where did they say when they were here? GH: Well, when we was set up at Holly Springs, we used classrooms over there. When we moved to the Co-op, we could sleep 45 out there. That’s where we stayed at. KR: Yeah, so just wherever y’all were set up? GH: Yeah. And when we was at Pine Grove, well Pine Grove, when was at Holly Springs we had a shower trailer brought in. At Pine Grove we didn't have nowhere for them to shower, so we used the local campground. They offered their services. The one behind the Exxon station. John whatever his last name is. We’d have them go down there and take showers. KR: Yeah. So now if there's like speak of during hurricane season, of any heavy rains or anything, do you feel like there's a change in morale based off Peeks Creek? Or do you think it's kind of worn off since it's been a while? GH: Well, it’s all worn off. KR: Yeah? GH: People forget. You know that was, well, this September, that'd be eighteen years. KR: Yeah. GH: In the last eighteen years there’s been so many people that have moved in. Holland 18 KR: Yeah. GH: And good or bad real estate people will sell you a house right on the Cullasaja River. Well, when I grew up up there, nobody lived on, local people didn't live on the river. Because they knew what it’d do. But, real estate people they don't they don't ever mention that your house could be gone [laughs]. KR: So, if another disaster of this magnitude were to occur again, in any area in Macon County, do you feel as though we would be more equipped to handle it based off what happened in Peeks Creek? GH: Well, I don’t know if we'd be more equipped. I believe we’d know, we'd have a better understanding on how to do it. KR: Yeah. GH: Because when that happened, I know I've been to lots of them. And you have to get permission from so many agencies. It's just sort of like, going by the seat of your pants. You can just, some things work, and some things won't. But I guess the main thing is just, the biggest thing is trying to get people out to find out who's affected. And once word gets out, of course, word to mouth that's the best way. When we was set up at First Baptist there was people that come in asking for help that we'd never even knew their house got flooded. KR: Wow. GH: One homeowner out at the old Caterpillar plant, you go right past it, and go up the road, and go up over a hill and down on a, it’s down on the Cartoogechaye Creekside. Her husband was in a wheelchair and their got house flooded. So, we didn't have anybody to go out there and check, because but we didn't know. You don't know who gets flooded and who don’t so. KR: Yeah. GH: But she came in on Sunday asking for some help and we re-done her house for her. KR: Yeah. So, do you feel like, were there any policies made like within the county to address things like that? GH: Well, there probably was on the local government side, but there wasn’t that many, if any, on the on the association side. KR: Yeah. GH: We just reacted to it when somebody asked. KR: Yeah, just like normal? Holland 19 GH: Yeah. KR: Yeah. So, do you think that as many lives would be lost? Or do you think we would be prepared in that way? GH: Well, it's hard to say. Yeah. If something happened again, there could be lives lost in it but. And it would be, that be something probably not a flood. Something like a mudslide again. I mean, that could happen anywhere in this county. KR: Yeah. GH: Well, like Walnut Creek and Buck Creek. The roads all go right up beside the creek, and, that could happen anywhere. It happened a little bit a couple years ago, when those mudslides happened in various places around here. Especially out there on Pressley Road. They had one. KR: I know there was one out there by Parker Meadows. GH: Yeah. Yeah, there just wasn’t anybody up in there. KR: Yeah. GH: No houses much. But yeah, you can still see the effects of it looking up in there. And it, even though you're probably more informed, I don't know. Some people just don't take warnings seriously. KR: Yeah. So that's the big, that's the big thing if people would pay attention? GH: Yeah. Mhmm. KR: Alright, is there anything else you remember you want to add or talk about? Or do you think you covered it? GH: No, I forgot it all [laughs]. KR: [laughs]. No, you didn’t you did good. GH: Glenn and Aileen would know more. KR: Yeah. GH: But. I don’t know how you’d get up with them. KR: Yeah. Holland 20 GH: But they was right there. And Glenn says they never caught water before a bad storm come through, but for some reason they filled up the bathtub with water that day. And he said at least they had water to flush the commode. KR: Yeah. GH: Of course, their house was way up on the hill, and it wasn’t affected. But a lot of people came through there. KR: I bet. GH: And then we sent, Sunday morning, we sent volunteers up there. I don’t know how many went, probably fifty or sixty. And they moved out of belongings out of his sister's house up to his basement to store it. KR: So, did the whole community, did he lose power? Was the whole community out of power? GH: Yeah, yeah, he didn't have any power either. KR: Yeah. GH: And I don't know if he would tell it all or not, but he said when that happened Christie’s house was down below him, and he said that he could hear somebody screaming and he got a chainsaw and went down there. And it was just a big rubble. And he found her and started just cutting. And he said you could smell propane gas everywhere. And he was sawing nails into it and sparks was flying. And he found her son that was dead. He was lying beside Christie. KR: Yeah. GH: And it affected Glenn pretty good. KR: I bet. GH: And he hard time with that. It seemed like. But he was very extremely instrumental in getting people help up through there. KR: Yeah. Since he was already in there. GH: Yeah. KR: The guy on the inside. GH: Then Jean. Jean done a lot of good up in there. KR: Mhmm. Holland 21 GH: But he about got in trouble. But cleaning that road, I guess you had to have permission, I don’t know, from somebody. But he didn’t wait on that [laughs]. KR: [laughs]. Oh, goodness. Well, I think we’re good. Thank you. GH: Well, you’re welcome. END OF INTERVIEW.
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Object’s are ‘parent’ level descriptions to ‘children’ items, (e.g. a book with pages).