Nichols mayor working to restore hope to his town
NICHOLS, S.C. – Mayor Lawson Battle is undeterred in his efforts to save help lives and his town. Floodwaters from Hurricane Florence surpassed that of Hurricane Matthew two years ago and forced town officials to leave Town Hall as it became overrun Wednesday and Thursday.
“The Town Hall is under water,” he said. He was he forced to leave and stay miles away in Horry County. “It’s higher than Matthew. The water came up crazy Wednesday morning and kept going. The last time I saw my house was Wednesday night.”
The South Carolina National Guard did all it could to help stop the water from getting in, using more than 600 sandbags before water seeped through the floors.
Battle said the Little Pee Dee River and the Lumber River finally crested but there was a chance that water levels could increase again.
Battle has had a busy week requesting resources and making sure residents were making it out of town to safety. He has met with Gov. Henry McMaster along with speaking on behalf of the town to several national news organizations. Battle also personally spoke with President Donald Trump.
“He said he was going to help,” Battle said, referring to the president. “I’ve challenged them to come to Marion County to help us. I’ve told him personally that I needed yesterday not tomorrow.”
Battle said his message is clear to the people.
“I’m trying to do everything for them because I know we’re at complete devastation again and we were just rebuilding our community,” he said. “I’m trying to do everything in my power to help them.”
He said he was thankful to Marion County Sheriff Brian Wallace , SLED, Department of Natural Resources, South Carolina Highway Patrol and S.C. National Guard for their hard-work on evacuations and rescue efforts.
The preparation and response helped to avoid tragedy.
“I think we did one hell of a job,” he said. “We worked on it four days prior and we got almost everyone out and by the time the waters came in I don’t know if there was anyone left in town.”
A Nichols Disaster Recovery Fund is still active at Anderson Brothers Bank for anyone interested in making donations.