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2018 Hurricane Florence (On assignment for Mercury One)

Hurricane Florence was a powerful and long-lived Cape Verde hurricane that caused catastrophic damage in the Carolinas in September 2018, primarily as a result of freshwater flooding due to torrential rain. Florence hit North and South Carolina on Sept. 14, 2018, bringing high winds, flooding and devastating damage.

Florence has been linked to at least 32 deaths and has left more than 1.1million homes and businesses without power.

I left for this assignment and arrived ahead of the Hurricane. My mission was to document the organizations that Mercury One supports. What I loved about this assignment was I was able to cover the whole thing! From the storm hitting the Carolinas and working with the Cajun Navy performing search and rescues, to Operation BBQ Relief preparing hot meals, feeding First Responders and those in need while picking up their lives from the disaster. And finally Team Rubicon who goes in and helps clear and rebuild the community.

Mercury One is one of the organization I found that has brought purpose back to my life after the military! This organization is dedicated to providing love and aid to those in need to help restore the human spirit around the world.

They offer aid to those in the path of disaster, and they support initiatives to end domestic abuse, sex slavery, and human trafficking. Also, they fund veteran initiatives and focus on rescuing, restoring, and rebuilding the lives of Christians and other persecuted religious minorities in the Middle East.

Members of the Cajun Navy help the Pembroke fire department perform search and recovery operations in Pembroke, NC on September 15, 2018 for Hurricane Florence. The Cajun Navy is a volunteer groups comprising private boat owners who assist in search and rescue efforts. Their mission is to help the people who can't get help, not only in the wake of disaster, but in everyday life.

Members of the Cajun Navy help the Raft Swamp Fire Department in Lumberton, NC on September 17, 2018 for Hurricane Florence.

Beneatrice McCullum and her family prepare to enter her family's submerged home for the first time to gather any personal belongings they can on September 17, 2018 in Lumberton, NC. The Cajun Navy rescued this family from the Planetarium road neighborhood from rising Hurricane Florence flood waters the night before.

The McCullum family gathers any dry salvageable personal belongings they can in their flooded out house on September 17, 2018 in Lumberton, NC. This was the first time the family got back into the house. The Cajun Navy rescued this family from the Planetarium road neighborhood from rising Hurricane Florence flood waters the night before.

Near exit 17 on I 95, a couple of dogs run on the highway as it remains closed and flooded from Hurricane Florence.

Karla and Jamieson Hammond look on and survey their grandparents home submerged from Hurricane Florence on Planetarium road in Lumberton, NC on September 17, 2018. Their grandparents home was safe for now as it was built up on 8 foot stilts.

Volunteers help cook hot meals for first responders and those in need that have been affected by Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, NC. Since Hurricane Florence hit Operation BBQ Relief has been set up in two locations, a small site in Fayetteville and their main site in Wilmington serving well over 150,000 meals. On September 24th in Rocky Point they hit a milestone of their 2 millionth meal served since inception in May 2011. Operation BBQ Relief provides meals to displaced residents and emergency personnel during times of natural and other disasters.

After all the big media is gone, there are thousands that are still feeling the affects of Hurricane Florence, trying to pick up the pieces and regain normality in their lives. This is where Team Rubicon comes in and is currently still working for those in need in the Wilmington, NC area. Team Rubicon works on September 24 & 25, 2018 to help local citizens hit hard. The team is working damage assessment, muck outs and sawyer teams. Team Rubicon is an International non-government organization (NGO) that identifies itself as a disaster relief company that uses veterans.

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