Wrightsville Beach Foundation raises $25,000 for town employees hit by Florence

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The Wrightsville Beach Foundation and Wrightsville Beach Volunteer Fire Department raised over $25,000 for Wrightsville Beach town employees affected by Hurricane Florence at the WB Strong Fundraiser on Thursday, Nov. 9 at Bluewater Grill.Several Wrightsville Beach employees suffered damages to their home and property during the storm, many while they were working for the town’s emergency operations center and staying at the Hampton Inn & Suites.
One of those employees, Danielle Villegas, told her story at the event.
While staying at the hotel, after the worst of the hurricane had rolled through, Villegas recounted a troubling call from the neighbors informing her that her Murrayville-area home was taking flooding. Villegas’ parents were staying at her house to help care for the animals.
The neighbors woke up Villegas’ parents, who were able to rescue her dogs and a kitten from the house.
“They got the dogs to swim down the road to the truck and got the kitten out, but left two cats behind, because they couldn’t catch them, they were trying to get out themselves,” Villegas said. “I was up the whole night worrying, but there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t leave. At first light, I snuck off on my way to get my parents and made it after driving through the flood waters.”
Villegas said after that,she waded through flood waters to retrieve the cats from the house.
“One of the cats was treading water,” she said.
Once she had her parents and pets secured, Villegas said that the town manager traded rooms with her so that she could have room for her parents. The park ranger also opened up the town’s kennels to give the pets a place to stay.
To distribute the funds raised, the foundation established a committee who will review and allocate disbursements on the following these conditions.:‍
• the current needs of the employees affected by the storm.
• establishing a fund for future town employee emergency assistance.
• first responder equipment/supplies and other needs of the town not included in the town budget.
The committee is represented by John Golder, President of WB Volunteer Fire Department; Jim Smith, WB Foundation President; Linda Brown, Wrightsville Beach Foundation treasurer; Nancy Faye Craig, community volunteer; Spencer Jarnigan, local resident and home inspector.
The event was sponsored by LM Restaurants; South End Surf Shop; Mad Mole, Watermans and Wrightsville Beach breweries, and Lighthouse Beer and Wine.

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