Hurricane Matthew battered thousands of buildings and trees and caused widespread power outages and flooding throughout the Lowcountry in the early morning hours of Oct. 8. But the Category 2 storm didn’t dampen the resolve of residents determined to help their neighbors – and complete strangers – who were suffering. Read here about some of these unsung heroes.
For many displaced Hilton Head Island residents during Hurricane Matthew, Facebook was the only way to know what was happening on the island.
Some stayed behind — others found ways back before the island was officially reopened — while the many who evacuated were left wondering whether their homes were damaged in the Category 2 storm.
Some created Facebook accounts simply to try to find any shred of information about the state of the island.
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For the nearly 7,000 members of the Facebook group, “Hilton Head & Bluffton v/s Hurricane Matthew,” it served as a lifeline for residents desperate for information.
Camille Copeland, general manager of the “Wine and Cheese, If You Please?” store on Hilton Head Island, created the Facebook group — her first — and invited a couple of friends to join.
Her husband laughed.
“It was kind of opening a can of worms on one hand ... but people would write me little messages and say, ‘Thank you for doing this,’ ” said Copeland, a Hilton Head Plantation resident. “Then it just started to swell.”
Before the island reopened, people would post in the group asking those who stayed behind to check on their homes.
Now, the group is active multiple times daily, with people sharing contact information for good contractors and other cleanup-oriented posts.
“It was crazy how quick people just came out of the woodwork to help each other,” Copeland said. “They didn’t even know each other; you would see all these people make friends with one another. ... I’ve just been really impressed with all the help, and all of the camaraderie and the love.”
Copeland said Hilton Head Island is home to “some really standout people,” and, despite the circumstances, the hurricane seemed to bring everyone on the island closer together.
“When you start thinking about all the people that helped one another, it was kind of like all these little warriors going out,” she said. “It made me feel really good about the island I live on and the people that are living here.”