Editorial: Any port in the storm, as long as the port is Aiken County

September 18, 2018

The “Welcome to Aiken” sign just outside the city limits always gets a little bigger when those in need look for a place to stay.

We throw out a rather large welcome mat when it comes to these storms and people know and aware that Aiken County is a perfect spot for shelter, hot water and a warm meal.

Add in good friends too.

We take in evacuees of all kinds, people, dogs, cats, horses and even a rabbit. Bring the whole family. Why not?

Floyd and Sharon Maloney thought the worst was going to happen in Charleston and they packed up and knew about Aiken County. What the retired military couple found was Friendship Baptist Church in Belvedere and a place to hide out from what could have been very bad for Charleston.

Fortunately for the Maloneys, Charleston didn’t get a scratch, everything is fine.

They were lucky, Charleston was lucky.

Then there was the McKeithan family from Oak Island, North Carolina. The McKeithans, Christy and Cliff, found a temporary home with the Aiken Equine Rescue and brought with them, of course their daughter Savannah and Cliff’s parents, Jack and Sylvia were here.

The McKeithan family roster expands and includes horses Blu, Winchester and Puddin, as well as the beagle, Scooby.

And last but not least the McKeithan’s rabbit, Oreo, made the trip to Aiken.

Oak Island, located just south of Wilmington, had major flooding and some structural damage to buildings as did just about everything around Southeast North Carolina.

The McKeithan’s home turned out to be in good shape after the storm and the best news for them was their home was not flooded.

Getting back to the home is a different story, everything around it is flooded and roads are closed.

It’s hard to say just how many came to the county to avoid the storm and in fact, throw in 40 jumpers and hunters from Seabrook Island Equestrian Center in Charleston and the efforts all around with Aiken Equine Rescue, those that remained or came to Aiken Horse Park and we may say there were more horses than humans escaping the storm.

It’s OK, we’ll find a spot.

Aiken County, of course, was lucky as well. We are fortunate all we got was some light rain and light winds.

But even if Aiken was to get more than what we got, we would still take in storm evacuees, simply because that’s what we do.

The welcome mat is always out.

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