Robinson slipped the photo into his pocket and continued his mission. When the team gathered at the Cruso Community Center, he passed the photo on to the volunteers.
“If my house was taken away, I would probably want the photos more than anything else,” he said.
Chelsea White-Hoglen is one of the community volunteers who started collecting the photos, working to reunite them with their owners.
For White-Hoglen, who lives nearby, seeing the suffering of close friends was one of the reasons she helped create We Are WNC, a grassroots organization contributing to relief efforts in Haywood County. White-Hoglen worked seven days a week, up to 12 hours a day. Sometimes with her 1 year old son, Noble, in tow.
“I’m tired, but I was brought up by this village here,” she said.
For weeks, residents waited for news from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that help was on the way. So the people of Haywood County came together and took care of each other. That’s exactly what they do, said Kristy Kirton, who grew up in the area.
“We are strong people, we are proud people,” she said. “You always help someone when you can.”
When the Pigeon River flooded, historically the people of Cruso found shelter at the highest elevation provided by the United Methodist Church of Cruso, a tradition attributed to a woman named Betty Henson, said Pastor Peter Constantian.