The Way Forward:
A Trinity Center Update from Executive Director, Penn Perry
Well, here we are. All my years out on this island, and as many storms as Trinity Center has survived, we have finally taken a big hit. Hurricane Florence brought plenty of devastation wherever it went, and eastern North Carolina bore the brunt of the storm. Honestly, I bristle every time I hear a newscaster talk about it coming ashore in Wilmington as a Category 1 storm. That storm slowed to a crawl and sat off our coastline for almost seventy-two hours, lashing this island with 100 mph winds off and on the whole time. Trinity Center was right in the northeast quadrant, where the storm was fiercest, and our property definitely looks the worse for wear.
My family and I evacuated inland, and it was several days before I was able to get back to Trinity Center, even with an Essential Personnel Disaster Pass. When I arrived, I crawled around property, took loads of pictures, saw plenty of visible damage, and thought that overall maybe it was not as bad as I had feared in my worst imaginings.
Then we filed our claim with our commercial property insurer. The claims adjuster has now come and gone, spending over two days here documenting damage. He and his team brought drones, infrared detectors, and moisture indicators. They meticulously documented damage all over our sixty-two acres. What they found was that the damage was far worse than I initially thought. Water had seeped into many of our buildings, through roofs, windows, and gables. There was water damage everywhere. Damage was extensive enough that our property insurer called in the “Large Loss” team. Construction specialists from Large Loss have arrived and have been working steadily to complete our claim. They have made clear the scale and scope of our loss. We are currently waiting to find out how much we will receive from three separate claims: commercial property, wind/hail, and flood.
And then the trucks rolled in. Our commercial property insurer called in a catastrophe team to manage the drying out process. It was surreal. On the one hand, I was relieved to know that experienced and professional help had arrived. On the other hand, I still had trouble accepting that we needed such help. The catastrophe team has stayed, tarping holes in roofs, deploying industrial strength dehumidifiers, and water-mapping our property. They will be in charge of the demolition/mold mitigation necessary around property, and they are already hard at work.
This entire time my staff has been cleaning, raking, piling, sawing, stacking, uncovering, and piling some more. They have worked so very hard, without complaint, doing everything they could to get us back in shape. We have had two volunteer days already, with so many friends helping us both days. Now we wait. We need our Large Loss adjuster to give us the go-ahead to begin demolition and construction. Main Dining, Pelican House, the Centrum, our dorms, and our Beach House all need some serious TLC. Other parts of property need work too. We are hoping to start very soon. We are hoping it will all be covered by insurance; in fact, we are hoping to emerge on the other side of this storm in better shape than ever.
What we need, honestly, are prayers and donations. All prayers always appreciated. Donations are so important right now. They will help pay my staff until the insurance money trickles in, until groups can return to property. It will literally keep the lights on at Trinity Center.
It’s so easy to donate now, just click here to get to our giving page. Donate to the Annual Fund, and in the comments section note that it is for “Hurricane Florence Relief.” You can make one-time or recurring donations. And hey, now that the mail is running again on the island, you can even mail us a check
I know in my head that we were fortunate. I know in my head that so many have suffered worse losses from the hurricane, some of them my own staff. In my heart, however, I feel the losses that Florence inflicted keenly and deeply. My beloved Trinity Center, our beloved Trinity Center, needs help from all of us.
To follow our recovery from Hurricane Florence, please visit the Trinity Center Facebook Page
For more information about the Hurricane Florence Recovery, please read our latest newsletter.
Executive Director, Trinity Center