Darlington, Hartsville gyms provide spaces for service workers to stay

September 23, 2018
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Curtis Boyd, owner of Fitness World Gyms, opened his facilities for linemen to shower, workout and stay.

DARLINGTON, S.C. – Seeing the need for linemen and service workers to have a place to stay, Fitness World Gyms Owner Curtis Boyd decided to take action.

“I always try to take time to help people,” Boyd said.

On Thursday, Sept. 13, Boyd invited linemen to use his gym to shower and work out. Since then, the gym Facebook post has received more than 2,000 shares.

Boyd said that when the weather started getting very bad, he wanted to make sure they had somewhere to go when they needed a place to stay. Boyd communicated with the Florence Center and the Darlington Raceway to make sure linemen knew they had a place to come and shower.

Boyd also opened up space for linemen to sleep in his facilities.

“The Lord has blessed me with multiple locations in multiple cities,” Boyd said. “So, I’ve got space.”

Currently, there are 130 contracted FEMA workers staying in his Darlington facility and American Red Cross volunteers staying at his Hartsville facility.

After the original Facebook post, Boyd asked for community support to wash linemen’s clothing and to bring them baked goods. Boyd said he has received an overwhelming number of responses.

Members of Boyd’s church and other community members volunteered to pick up loads of laundry from the linemen, washed the clothes and returned them. Hampton Inn Suites also offered to wash clothes for linemen in Florence.

“It’s good to see people want to help other people,” Boyd said.

One community member, Marsha Bennoitt, brought homemade red velvet cupcakes for the linemen. Bennoitt said she saw Boyd’s Facebook post and wanted to help. Her daughter-in-law Cassandra baked the cupcakes.

“We try to do anything we can,” Bennoitt said. “We are so fortunate with minimal damage, but it’s really bad in other places. We are just thankful for all of the people from other areas who come out.”

More than 20 states are represented by the American Medical Response team staying at Fitness World Gyms in Darlington. The group has been staying at the gym for four days.

According to incident director Lisa Moden, the first responders will be staying in the Pee Dee until they get an estimate on how the flooding will affect the area.

Tyanie Gordon, who is the planning chief, said that when they first got here, there wasn’t enough space for the crew, and Boyd opened up his facility.

“He was kind enough to open his facility when we didn’t have it,” Moden said “He’s been nothing but wonderful to us.”

Moden said the community has been welcoming and kind to the crew.

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