Carteret County News-Times
Islander Drive was lined with people, Trump flags and American flags flying, and President Donald Trump was due in town to look at tornado damage from Hurricane Dorian.
While a storm was to have brought him to Carteret County, a storm kept him away Monday, as a line of severe thunderstorms moved through the area, scattering the crowd of hundreds and canceling the president’s visit.
It didn’t however, keep U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, R-N.C., from visiting the tornado damage site earlier in the day.
He arrived around 11:30 a.m. with Ronnie Watson, former mayor of Emerald Isle and owner of the Holiday Trav-L Park, which is near the site where a Thursday morning tornado destroyed or damaged 60 RVs at the Boardwalk RV Park, destroyed Artisan Granite and Marble and severely damaged the Lighthouse Inn and the Salty Pirate Water Park. It also destroyed some campers on a nearby storage lot Mr. Watson owns, plus an ice machine business.
Sen. Tillis, who said he grew up in the coastal town of Jacksonville, Fla., and has lived in mobile homes, talked to owners of destroyed units in the RV park, such as full-time resident Tamara Briley, who walked out of the ruins of her unit and greeted the senator with “welcome to my home.”
Sen. Tillis, in response to a question from a reporter, said he already talked to state officials about money for the cleanup and plans to get the process rolling to try to get Federal Emergency Management Agency funds for the disaster.
Once a federal disaster is declared, he said, “I’ll get to work on getting the money (from Congress) like we did for (Hurricane) Florence.”
Mr. McLean of Cape Carteret, who owns the Boardwalk RV Park, escorted Sen. Tillis to view the damage and introduced him to some of the residents, including Ms. Briley.
In between the senator’s visit and the cancellation of the president’s visit, Ms. Briley told the News-Times both efforts meant a lot to her and others.
“If it will help us get money and resources to help all of these people, that would be a good thing,” she said. “This is very hard for all of us.”
Mr. McLean said Ms. Briley is a school nurse in Onslow County.
Another full-time resident who lost his home, Jordan Williams, agreed.
“It’s good to know this little community is getting some recognition,” he said. “You don’t really expect these big names to care, and it’s nice that they cared enough to plan to come here.”
Mr. Williams said his main concern is that his insurance company has not been responsive. He needs to know how much it will pay, he said, before he can decide whether to buy another unit or rent a residence somewhere else.
Some of the RV park unit owners moved in after Hurricane Florence damaged or destroyed other residences in September 2018.
State Rep. Pat McElraft, a Republican from Emerald Isle, was also on the tour. She said she’s working to get state money.
“We have $1.2 billion in our ‘rainy day fund,’” she said, and state money was used a few years ago in a similar situation after tornados hit Greensboro.
She praised Sen. Tillis for coming to Emerald Isle and also mentioned that Gov. Roy Cooper visited the site Saturday.
Read the article here.