Surry County’s generosity showed Saturday as Veterans Memorial Park in Mount Airy played host to two charitable occasions on the same day.
The local chapter of the American Cancer Society held its Relay for Life, while the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the VFW Auxiliary held a supply drive to benefit victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Dave Raborn, VFW commander, said the collection started at 8 a.m., and there were already people dropping off supplies at the empty semi trailer by then.
Ace Transportation donated the use of a trailer, and driver Paul Looper volunteered to drive the supplies to the VFW post in Houston where they can be disbursed to residents in need.
Looking at what had been loaded into the trailer already and what was still inside the VFW post Saturday afternoon, Mark Barr, auxiliary commander, estimated these items would fill maybe fourth-fifths of the trailer, and there likely would be some late additions coming in.
One big surprise was when a local charitable group made a mass donation.
God’s Helping Hands, a free “store” run by Jimmy Stockton on West Pine Street, delivered five big cardboard boxes to the parking lot. Barr said he opened one box, and it was filled to the brim with jeans.
A couple of volunteers tried to load the boxes in the trailer, but the items were too heavy to lift. Cooke Rentals, just up the road on Lebanon Street, donated the use of a forklift to get the five boxes and some pallets of bottled water into the trailer, said Barr.
Another delivery came from the Everett family. Steve Everett is a fire engineer with the Mount Airy Fire Department.
Barr said as he was stacking up the items in the trailer, he noticed a letter sticking up in the box. Curious, he looked at the message.
Steve’s daughter, Mattie, a sixth-grader, had written to whomever received the box. She wrote she had more than enough for herself, and she’d heard people in Houston had lost everything, so she wanted to do what she could to help.
Barr said when he read that note, it brought tears to his eyes. He put the note back in the box for the intended recipient.
As the clock neared the 5 p.m. cutoff Saturday, a woman brought by a box of supplies and said she could bring more later if they still needed something.
VFW member Bob King said that several kind people had offered sentiments like that, or asking of the VFW was doing anything for Hurricane Irma victims so they could help there, too.
If more people show an interest, then the VFW and Auxiliary might want to do a second trailer load, Raborn and Barr agreed.