Hurlock, H&M Transportation send supplies to Tennessee

HURLOCK – Where do you turn when everything you own and cherish is destroyed in a matter of hours? In Tennessee the victims of a series of arson fires are receiving help from hundreds of miles away in a remarkable display of charity. Help is coming from Dorchester County.

It all began one night when Hurlock Mayor Joyce Spratt thought to herself, “Everybody else is watching Rudolph and I’m sitting here thinking about the fires in Tennessee. I think we should do something.” It started as an idea but it has ended up “as the biggest project we’ve ever done.” As she thought about it Mayor Spratt decided, “If we can find a truck we could have them take things down there. I never imagined we’d have three trucks. I really feel like it’s made my Christmas to think we could help in a small way.”

The project exploded with county-wide support. It began with H&M Trucking in Federalsburg who offered a tractor-trailer and driver to get the load to Tennessee. Ms. Spratt says, “It’s been overwhelming. We’re going to have three loads. The last one will be on the 20th. We’ve had everything from dog food to cat littler to cat food to hay and straw for the animals. We’ve sent non-perishable food, baby beds, a crib, youth bed, high chairs, and strollers. Some people donate used items; some buy things.”

As the project gained steam, Alan Herbert in Cambridge offered his help. He arranged pick up locations, used his many contacts to get the word out, and continues to transport the donations to the town office in Hurlock where items are sorted, packed, and taken to H&M for loading. Mr. Herbert served 20 years as a volunteer firefighter and he has seen people lose everything they own. “If we got hit, I would hope someone would step in to help,” he says, “It’s the right thing to do, you know, to help people jumpstart their lives.”

One tractor-trailer load was delivered; a second leaves on Saturday; and the final one is scheduled for Dec. 20. A driver whose truck is used by H&M is hauling the loads with the company covering the costs of delivery.

After the contributions arrive in Tennessee they are delivered to a former Eastern Shore man. Mayor Spratt explains, “We partnered with a minister down there who used to be in Fruitland. He has lost four parishioners out of his congregation down there to the fire and the homes of four others and he said we could use his warehouse for delivery. He said he would take care of everything from that point on. I think that’s a real blessing.”

Dawn Bryan, coordinator of the effort at H&M, says donations will be accepted until noon on Dec. 18 at these locations: Hurlock town office, H&M Bay in Federalsburg, Provident State Bank (all locations), Federalsburg Family Restaurant, St. Peter Episcopal Church in Salisbury, Bullock’s Deli in Denton, Sandy Hill Diner, Accurate Car Care, E.S. Hubbert, New Life Consignments, Woolford General Store, Riverview at the Point, Crabi Gras, and Goose Creek at Snow’s Turn.

Ms. Spratt adds, “To think we could do one truck and now we’ve got three trailer loads going down there. It’s really made my Christmas!”

Anyone looking for the real meaning of Christmas need look no farther than the Eastern Shore where the spirit of the season is alive and well.

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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