Lessons from working during Hurricane Florence

This time of year, it’s good to remember the importance of giving back and going the extra mile. But we all need to keep in mind that sometimes the need doesn’t fall during the holidays.

The Whitestone Group Inc. played a significant role during the recovery efforts of Hurricane Florence in North and South Carolina. For 14 days in September, Whitestone worked hand in hand with the responders, who restored the power grid to this devastated area, by providing professional security services to their base camps, directing traffic and helping to restore a normalcy for the citizens.

Moving fast

Under difficult times like these, stress levels are high for all. Whitestone provided a secure and safe environment for the responders and displaced citizens.

We were 100 percent prepared to move out upon receiving the call. Our rapid response team was activated, pulling personnel from 14 states and utilizing our vast inventory of military field rations, known as MREs or meals ready to eat, flashlights, protective equipment and uniforms. We were able to respond within four hours of initial notification. Our professional security staff was in route to the command post in Smithfield, North Carolina, where our management team and upwards of 100 officers stood post, directed traffic and secured facilities around the clock.

This was a major operation — initially securing 17 sites that temporarily housed power crews, tree and debris removal personnel, engineers and many other specialists spread out across the Carolinas.

In the days after Florence’s landfall, the threat of flooding increased. Immediate flooding events caused sites to evacuate and new sites to be identified. The recovery efforts were in constant motion, requiring the number of base camps needing security to increase to 22 sites. Our mobile command center was able to reroute personnel, on the fly, as roads became unpassable and as others became usable again.

Go the extra mile, and then acknowledge it

As a business leader, you want to show your appreciation to your employees for a job well done, especially when it’s a worthy cause like this.

Whitestone’s team was honored to be selected for the responsibility of securing the camps, citizens and responders. We are equally proud of the outstanding work performed by our security specialists. Our personnel went the extra mile.

The children in the camps made cards for our guards to thank them for all they did. Chloe wrote, “Roses are red, violets are blue, you make me smile and I thank you.” Caroline’s card read, “Thank you for helping New Bren, NC. I hope you like what I made for you.”

Whitestone’s Team extends our thanks to everyone who helped and to our staff for their dedication. We wish all the citizens of the Carolinas the very best as they begin their long recovery process.

 

John D. Clark Sr. is the president and CEO of The Whitestone Group Inc., which was founded by John in 2000 to provide professional security services for commercial and industrial clients. After becoming established, its client base expanded to include numerous federal government agencies. The company prides itself on making each customer the most important customer. Whitestone has serviced 19 government agencies on 35 contracts at 70 locations across the U.S. providing protection to thousands of people, property and strategic assets.