EDEN, N.C. – Things in Rockingham County are improving after Friday night's storm knocked out power to thousands.
Sunday, the two shelters that housed people looking to get out of the frigid temperatures closed. And while the people who took refuge there were getting ready to leave, officials say it was a great lesson in being prepared.
Lois Dunn, president of the Eden Fire Department Auxiliary, is used to helping the city's firefighters.
“But in this situation, our community members, they needed us just as much as the guys that would be out there putting out the fire,” Dunn said.
Dunn and the members of the Eden Police Department Auxiliary were called in to volunteer at an emergency shelter that opened Saturday night.
“It's better than waking up in a cold and not having any way to get something warm to drink,” Dunn said. “I understand they were nice and bedded down in the gym and warm last night.”
Several people took advantage of the shelter.
But Sunday morning, officials decided they would close the center and another one in Mayodan, N.C. And while just a few people took advantage of the free warm place to stay, organizers say it was pretty easy to get it open.
“The police department brought me 20 beds and 20 blankets. We met them out at the truck and unloaded. Then when the auxiliary people came in, we went out to the trailer and helped them unload it, so it wasn't bad at all,” Bridge Street Center Director Kathy Overby said.
While the auxiliary prepares for fires all the time, they said this was a new experience.
“You don't get a notice that you are going to have a house fire, so it may be three in the afternoon or three in the morning. Those things we pretty much know how to deal with, but with this, it was not knowing, ‘Do I need to plan for 10? Do I need to plan for 100?” Dunn said.
And as they worked through the challenges of opening this shelter, Dunn says they learned valuable lessons that will be used in the future.
“You like to think that life is going to go on great and something like this is never going to happen again, but it's the real world and things happen and people need you. We need one another. We need our neighbors. We need our community,” Dunn said.