WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) -Friday marks five years since Hurricane Matthew rocked southeastern North Carolina.
The damage was estimated at $10.3 billion, and it caused such dramatic destruction that the name “Matthew” was retired from the Atlantic hurricane list of names.
Many towns like Fair Bluff still haven’t fully recovered. Past the horrific images of the damage there’s still many scars that you cant see so clearly.
Twenty five people died in North Carolina, and four died in South Carolina where the storm made landfall. All but one of those victims died from the flooding the storm produced.
Life has continued for those victim’s families, but the pain hasn’t gone away. Family members like Thomas Page had to go back to work and the daily hustle with a hole in their hearts.
Page is known for selling hot dogs at the Wilmington Lowes Home Improvement store, and still grapples with the loss of his son, Brad each day.
Brad Page and five others were driving back from a party in Johnson County when their car was swept away by floodwaters. Everyone but Brad Page made it out of he car.
“He was 30 years old with Matthew came through, when he got swept off in the creek and he led a good life, he was happy and he and his friends just decided they were going to have a night out, and they picked the wrong night to have out,” said father Thomas Page. “Its still very painful every day.”
Brad Page was a chef in Smithfield, and will always be remembered for being a free spirit with a unique sense of humor.
As difficult as the loss is to bear, he still tells his son’s story to some of his customers. Some offer hugs, others confide that they’ve lost children, too. He hopes sharing the warning that can save another life in the future.
“Do not drive through water…people repeatedly tell you don’t drive through water, but people don’t listen. You will die. You will die,” said Page. “A terrible, terrible storm. All the terrible storms… you cant control what god does.”
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