THE OPERATION ONSLOW STORY
The Weather Channel and our local weatherman Skip Waters had informed us there was a tornado in the Jacksonville area on April 16, 2011. During that time, I was on Facebook with my friend Shirlene Kellum chatting back and forth about the tornado. Shirlene has a police scanner and she was keeping me updated as to what was happening in our city. While on Facebook, we began talking about using a business parking lot to sell Barbeque dinners to raise money for the victims affected by the tornado. Before the evening was over many local citizens also felt we needed to come together to assist the victims as well. After we set a date, we held our first meeting at a coffee shop. We received a lot of support from our community. After careful consideration, we formed committees and named our organization Operation B-4.
The local American Legion donated the use of their building (something they have never done in the past.) Local businesses donated money and items for our silent auction. We sold booth space to crafters and other organizations provided information to victims and concerned citizens. FEMA also set up a booth to provide information to the victims. The North Carolina Highway Patrol used one of their cars for citizens to see firsthand. Churches and individuals donated money to purchase the pigs for the barbeque, Golden Corral donated the baked beans, cole slaw and bread. A local man prepared all the hush puppies. The Swamp Loggers from the Discovery Channel came out and served the food during the day, the live entertainment was donated, and twenty plus Marines came out to support and assist our event.
FEMA staff and two representatives from the Governor's office attended some of our meetings. The purpose of their visit was to understand the goals of Operation B-4 and to find out how we were able to get so much support.
I was born and raised in Onslow County and it is a wonderful place to live. There was never a doubt in my mind about the citizens I knew they would step in to help their “own.” At the end of the day we ended up raising money and had four storage units full of good used household furnishing for the victims. Operation B-4 was such a success we decided to continue take Operation B-4 to the next level and apply for our own non-profit status. It was during this process we decided to change the name to Operation Onslow.
Operation Onslow has a Board of Directors and are now working on projects to raise additional money for future disasters that may occur.
2013 Operation Onslow Board of Directors
Bottom Row from left to right: Rhonda Lowery 252-764-7071 , Emma Humphrey 910-389-3212,
Chair- Shirlene Kellum 910 330-6429 , Treasurer- Deb Hall 910-256-1317, Secretary- Fran Pierce 910-389-7851
Top Row from left to right: Co- Chair Jerry Oakes 252-626-8314, Valarie Smith 252-659-2669,
Jennifer Libby- 570-594-4846 , Christina Hollis 614-900-5519