OAK ISLAND, NC (WECT) – Hurricane Isaias left beach towns across Brunswick County with millions of dollars worth of damage.
Parts of Oak Island are still under lockdown as crews work to bring back utilities and make homes and businesses on the west end of the island safe for people to occupy.
As devastating as the damage was to Oak Island, the resilience and strength of the people who live there is what many in the community will remember most about hurricane Isaias.
The heroic actions of everyday people like Shawn Pendergrass are one reason the island didn’t report any deaths or major injuries in connection with the storm.
Pendergrass was riding out the storm in his house on E Beach Drive near SE 49th Street when he realized the family in the house next door were in danger.
The storm surge had completely ripped the small house from its foundation. The homeowner, his wife, daughter and granddaughter were trapped inside and the home was filling up with water.
Emergency crews couldn’t launch boats or conduct rescues until the storm conditions subsided.
“The water was waist deep inside the house, so it was pretty much a sinking ship,” said Pendergrass.
It took several trips battling the wind and dodging cars being tossed in the waves, but Pendergrass got everyone out safely, including the homeowner’s dog.
As challenging as it was to bring them all to safety, Pendergrass says failure was simply not an option.
“You got a family… you got to do what you gotta do,” said Pendergrass.
As he and his neighbors are left to face the devastation left behind by the storm, stories like this are just another reminder about what matters most.
“I just do what anybody would do, you know. They need help so really it’s just worrying about your lives and then picking up the pieces afterwards. It’s material things… you know, you can’t replace your life.”