News Releases

CDRC Awards ‘Heart of Matthew’ Heroes

Oct 27, 2017

FAYETTEVILLE – The Cumberland Disaster Recovery Coalition presented “Heart of Matthew” awards today to honor community heroes who went above and beyond the call of duty to help others during, before and after Hurricane Matthew last year. The CDRC collaborated with Alliance Behavioral Healthcare and other sponsors to hold the event marking the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Matthew, which struck Cumberland County Oct. 8, 2016.

“Today’s awards ceremony was a way of saying ‘thank you’ to unsung heroes, but it was also an opportunity to bring together those heroes, agencies, leaders and media, and shine some light on unmet needs,” said CDRC Executive Director Ivonne Anton. “There are still 400 families affected who have needs and there are still 180 homes that need to be rebuilt. We are pushing to make sure the community is attentive to those needs and the greatest need is for volunteers.”

Anton and master of ceremonies Gilbert Baez from WRAL presented the awards. The individuals, groups and agencies listed below received Heart of Matthew Hero Awards.

• Stacey Leach and Andre Fennell, for their efforts to rescue 26 patients of the Alzheimer’s Related Care (ARC) Facility on Pecan Drive, off Cameron Road, in Hope Mills. Leach and Fennell, who were ARC employees, carried out each patient as waters from nearby Rockfish Creek quickly rose and flooded the facility.

• Cumberland County Animal Control, for the efforts of employees in rescuing flood-threatened animals at the shelter, including a horse; rescuing 30 dogs and three cats from the Dog Days Inn & Cat Nappery in downtown Fayetteville; and assisting evacuated families with pets.

• Larry Gray, for his lifesaving efforts to rescue victims from severe flooding of Branson Creek on Weiss Avenue, between Robeson Street and the Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway. Gray used a rope to rescue people trapped in floodwaters and helped pull a person who fell in a manhole that lost its lid because of floodwaters. Gray conducted the rescues at high risk of losing his own life in the floodwaters.

• Fayetteville Police Department Rescue No. 2, for efforts to save several people, including young children, who were trapped in vehicles caught in floodwaters on streets.

In addition, Steve Rogers was recognized by the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners for his volunteerism and commitment to the CDRC, which Rogers helped found in 2011. Board of Commissioners Chairman Glenn Adams read a proclamation honoring Rogers at the awards ceremony. The CDRC also presented Heart of Matthew awards for unmet needs to the Cumberland County Department of

Social Services, Second Harvest Food Bank Mobile Food Pantry and the Cumberland Community Foundation. Social Services Disaster Coordinator Al Foote presented a tribute to first responders in Cumberland County. The CDRC is a long-term disaster recovery group of nonprofits, faith-based and charitable organizations working together to meet the unmet needs of Cumberland County residents affected by state and federallydeclared disasters. The website is website is