Dependability and unselfishness are traits that have been instilled in United States Marines from the start of their careers. As Onslow County continues to recover from Hurricane Florence, Marines with Motor Transport Maintenance Instructional Company on Camp Johnson took the opportunity to display those traits while volunteering to rebuild homes in Jacksonville, March 21.

Six months ago, Florence made landfall along the southeastern North Carolina coast causing devastating impacts to Onslow County and the surrounding areas with approximately 30 to 40 inches of rain, sustained tropical storm force winds for a period of more than 48 hours and record-breaking flooding, leaving behind a trail of destruction on Sept. 13 to 15, 2018.

“There are currently about 19,480 homes in Onslow County that still need repairs,” said Lisa Potts, a disaster relief coordinator with the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. “It takes time to work on these homes, and the weather has only caused more difficulties. Roofing has by far been our biggest challenge with the rain.”

The small group of 10 Marines were partnered with civilian volunteers depending on their skill sets. They helped with numerous tasks, including removal of debris and installation of new floors and drywall.

“We heard about volunteering through our chain of command when they offered us the opportunity to come out here and help,” said Pfc. Nicholas Hames, a student with Motor Transport Maintenance Instructional Company. “There’s so much damage from the hurricane and people are still living with relatives or out of hotels while waiting on their home to be repaired. I think it’s good for them to know that they have people that want to help and are willing to put forth the effort.”

A total of 19,480 damaged homes have been declared eligible for disaster assistance in Onslow County by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The total damage from Florence is estimated to have exceeded $17 billion in North Carolina alone.

“I wanted to do this

because it is meaningful work to me and the need for volunteers is high,” Hames said. “It feels really important for me as a Marine to do what I can to help.”