08/30/11 — In times like this, neighbors pull together

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In times like this, neighbors pull together

By Gary Popp
Published in News on August 30, 2011 1:46 PM

A sunny Sunday gave Wayne County residents a chance to dry out a bit and start cleaning up the debris left by Hurricane Irene.

Downed trees, broken limbs, splintered power poles and drooping power lines left some parts of Goldsboro looking like a war zone. But most residents were already hard at work, cleaning up the mess.

Bill and Diane Massengill used rakes and a wheel barrel to clear the front yard of their home in the 1100 block of Mulberry Street. The couple then turned to help neighbors clear their yards.

The Massengills said they wanted to help because their neighbor's husband is currently deployed overseas.

"Everybody helps each other and kind of comes together in times like this," Bill Massengill said.

Diane Massengill said one of their neighbors owns a pizzeria in town and that he was getting ready to deliver pizza for everyone on the block who was out working to clear their yards.

"There is a bunch of nice people here on Mulberry Street," she said.

The Massengills, like many in the area, were still without power Sunday morning but said they had prepared for the storm by stocking up on ice, water and food.

"We are feeling pretty lucky right now," Bill Massengill said.

Raul Menjavar spent part of his Sunday picking up fallen branches that littered the parking lot of Seventh-Day Adventist Church at 1000 E. Mulberry St.

A resident of Princeton, Menjavar said he wanted to volunteer some of his free time in Goldsboro, where the storm damage was much worse than in Johnston County.

"You have to do some community work," Menjavar said. "You can't always just worry about yourself."

He said the worst damage to the church was the loss of a number of shingles that blew off during the storm.

"Thank goodness it was just branches and a few missing shingles," Menjavar said.

Similar scenes were taking place all across the city and county as Wayne residents took stock of the damage.

Several blocks down the street from the church, Mike DeGrechie, along with his son-in-law and friend, was busy removing a tree, piece by piece, that had fallen in the back yard of his home.

By 10 a.m., the men were dripping with sweat as they carried branches, limbs, and pieces of the trunk from the back yard to the street curb.

DeGrechie was in his house during the storm trying to stay comfortable as the winds whipped down his street.

"I was inside reading, and all of a sudden I heard a noise, so I immediately looked outside," DeGrechie said.

DeGreshie found his neighbor's big pine in his yard, where it had landed only a few feet away from where his pickup stood without a scratch on it.

A second tree, which had fallen in front of the DeGrechie home, spread its heavy branches across his front yard. To clear the tree from DeGreshie's home the men stepped over and ducked under power cords that had been jerked down by the fallen trees.

Even with a chain saw and lots of elbow grease, DeGreshie said he expected it to take most of the day to finish cleaning up.