She couldn't hire anyone, but volunteers showed

A Knight of Columbus, from St. Paul Church in New Bern, assists Nancy Sciara following Hurricane Florence.Nancy Sciara’s “insides were shaking.” She woke up, she said, unsure of what to expect from the day.

Sciara, 84, was widowed 12 days earlier. And, four days after that, she sat in her bonus room and watched as wind and rain from Hurricane Florence raged outside a window. It flooded the garage and workroom of her River Bend home, and damaged her living room.

Her son, from his home in New Jersey, made calls to try and hire someone to clean.

“Nobody came,” she said. “Even for money. We couldn’t even get people to hire.”

But, on Saturday, Sept. 22, four Knights of Columbus arrived at her home armed with wheelbarrows, work gloves and time to serve. Knights Denny Colbert, John Carrere, Steve Kornblum and Ed Jones lined the street with once-treasured possessions, such as the vise from Sciara’s husband’s workbench, that had become trash.

It was a common scene on Plantation Drive, a residential street in the previously serene golf community, where curbs were lined with wet insulation, trash bags, furniture and mattresses. Chainsaws buzzed in neighbors’ yards as fallen trees were dealt with. Large, makeshift signs created with spray paint thanked volunteers and warned would-be looters. 

Inside her garage, Sciara avoided the sun and helped the Knights from Council #3303 at her home parish of St. Paul in New Bern. She’d occasionally pick up a wet cardboard box or a stray golf ball. She paused to look at photos of her husband, and their friends. 

“That’s what has to happen,” she said as volunteers carried damaged items to the curb. “You have to close your eyes and just let them do the work. You could agonize over each and every piece, but then you’d be here for a week or two.”

Read more Humanity in the Hurricane.