By Kendall McGee | September 30, 2020 at 8:19 PM EDT – Updated September 30 at 9:26 PM
OAK ISLAND, N.C. (WECT) – Neighbors in Oak Island were hard hit by the storm surge from Hurricane Isaias. Weeks later, many items that were in people’s yards and homes were pushed blocks away and into the marsh.
“We look at this marsh every day as locals living here. We see such beauty and there’s so many animals that live in there,” said Tierra Pointer. “So, when you go out there and you see something that’s not supposed to be there, like a trashcan, it’s like we’re kind of disturbing the flow.”
Tierra Pointer and Edward Lovett were complete strangers before the storm. They met on social media after Isaias as Lovett was trying to get a set of kayaks back to their owner. Together, they set up the Davis Canal Marsh Cleanup page on Facebook and since then, volunteers have come together to fish all kinds of treasures out of the area waterways.
“The island came together to fill a need the city simply couldn’t,” said organizer Edward Lovett.
Volunteers young and old have paddled out in the Davis Canal Marsh or waded out at low tide to remove beach toys, furniture, pieces of homes and lawn ornaments.
They’ve completed six meet-ups with as many as 30 volunteers showing up to lend a hand.
There’s a lot of work to be done still, but so far, Davis Canal Marsh cleaners have pulled four tons of garbage out of the environment.
They’ve seen everything from furniture, lumber and windows to beach toys and yard ornaments.
Thanks to the power of social media, many of the items they pluck from the marsh are making their way back to their original owners.
One family recently got their basketball goal back, while a grandmother was recently given back her beach house sign that was hand painted by her granddaughter.
“Getting those things back to people can definitely bring a few tears,” said Pointer. “You know a picnic table can be replaced, but somebody’s bin full of old pictures, or antiques, or family memories can’t be.”
The organizer says they’ve come up with a nickname for their helpers, dubbing them,“Marshmellows.”
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