by Gil Wise
Beacon District Superintendent
Once again I found myself directing traffic during a hurricane. Electing to ride out the hurricane in a safer place, I evacuated to go to where I grew up in Godwin, NC. My home place is just off of I-95. Roads were closed due to flooding and trees blocking the roads forced the closing of I-95. Travelers seeking to find alternate routes exited the interstate, taking Highway 82, which makes a turn toward Erwin at my home. The only problem is that the GPS directions take travelers to my road that has been closed leaving them in a dead end and with no idea where to go from there.
I am a former volunteer firefighter on the Godwin-Falcon Fire Department and the Norlina Fire Department. I have experience in directing traffic when serving with these departments. Positioning myself at the closed road, I spend the day giving directions to travelers trying to avoid closures and finding a safe way home. Ironically, I make connections with individuals who either reside or are on their way to my District. I was able to assist a school teacher from Manteo to get safely home to her family. Likewise, travelers going to Corolla and Kill Devil Hills found their way to me to get directions home. I told them about the great churches and pastors at Duck and Colington. I was able to encourage and guide several traveling to Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
Underneath my UM Disaster Response Vest, I wore a Duke Blue Devils poncho. One of the travelers was very cautious as she rolled her window down for directions. Then she saw my Duke poncho and asked, “Are you a Blue Devils Fan?” My reply was yes and I am a graduate of Duke. She broke out with a smile and shared that she was a student at Duke, trying to get back to campus. She was so relieved to find a friendly face with directions to her destination.
Over and over, everyone was so appreciative that I would be there on the corner to help them find their way. God saw this day long ago when He opened the doors for me to be a firefighter, and also saw me through my appointments to this point to minister to those in need throughout this storm.