N.C. Department of Correction--Correction News--May 1998

Probation Officers Narrowly Escape Tornado

STONEVILLE — Probation officers James Long and Eric Whitten were making home visits in Stoneville the afternoon of March 20. As they turned the corner, they looked up to see a tornado bearing down on them. They reversed direction, drove through downtown and realized they couldn’t outrun the tornado. Parking their car, they headed for a train trestle where they encouraged ten others to huddle with them. The tornado passed by 200 yards away.

The officers then joined the lone sheriff’s deputy in town to begin checking damaged homes for injured persons. Driving from Wentworth, probation officers Tom Grant and David King made their way through a hail storm to join them.

Intensive officer Lisa Dishman remembers going with several others to the sheriff department’s dispatch office that Friday afternoon. It was flooded with calls.

As cleanup efforts began in earnest Monday, officers Dishman, King and Mary Elizabeth Tate went to the emergency center established in Stoneville. They manned the telephones and sought to match donations with persons calling for help. They also helped relay information to correctional officers who led prisoner cleanup squads. Dishman worked the entire week in the emergency center. While they helped coordinate the cleanup, probation officer Cecil Cottrell used his chain saw and truck to help clear downed trees in Mayodan and Stoneville.

"We are proud of these officers," said Robert Guy, Director of the Division of Adult Probation and Parole. "In their dedication to their communities and their demonstration of great concern for the welfare of others, they are an example for all of us." u

NC DOC Correction News- May 1998
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