Leaders Join Forces To Form Harnett County KARES

Civic, municipal and religious leaders from across the county gathered Thursday to discuss plans to provide relief efforts to storm victims in the Midwest. DAILY RECORD PHOTO/RICK CURL

By Rick Curl
Dunn Daily Record

Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats summoned local police, town officials and business, religious and community leaders to form a special task force Thursday with one mission in mind. Together, they will gather and send supplies to bring relief to the victims of recent storms and deadly tornadoes in Maysville, Kentucky.

Together, they form the team Harnett County KARES (Kentucky Area Relief Effort and Support).

“This is not about Wayne Coats, this is not about the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office … planning something this big I need help,” Coats said.

The community leaders and supporters, which included Food Lion Distribution Center’s Transportation Operations Manager Steven Pope, tossed around ideas on how to facilitate drop-off points in each municipality, a central staging area and the need for physical volunteers as well as goods and supplies. All ahead of trucks from Food Lion and RLT and Associates rolling south with the needed supplies.

“We’ve already got about five pallets already donated to us,” Coats said. “And we haven’t even started the effort yet.”

The next phase of the mission is to pull together the ideas shared in Thursday’s meeting and start to bring them to fruition. Leaders in all county municipalities and Harnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman Lew Weatherspoon pledged to provide drop-off sites where volunteers will gather and sort donations to send to the Harnett County Emergency Management warehouse.

Included in possible drop-off locations is the Harnett County Courthouse and Gospel Tabernacle Church in Dunn.

The target for getting the shipments to Kentucky — while not set in stone yet — calls for a mid- to late-January departure date.

“The biggest things to come from this meeting is a name and a date,” Coats said. “Those are two most important things we have to decide.”

More information on drop-off locations, the need for volunteers and what items are needed most nearing the time of departure will be released in the coming days.