Three men recall life during and after Hurricane Hugo in rural Berkeley County

Hurricane Hugo

ALVIN, S.C. (WCBD) – Hurricane Hugo forever changed the Lowcountry 30 years ago this year.

When the storm hit, communities like Alvin in rural Berkeley County were hit hardest.

“At that time, I was a corporal in the sheriff’s department,” said retired deputy Ulysses Greene.

Before the storm, Greene called people to tell them to go to local school shelters.

“Some of the people said they weren’t going to leave home. Everything was gonna be ok,” he recalled.

It was not ok.

“Late that night when Hugo start hitting, it sounded like a locomotive train was coming. Tree was falling,” he remembered. “The phone started ringing. People was calling the office asking to send the National Guard for them.”

But it was too late.

“One lady that I spoke with had a little girl. When it hit, she said a tree fell across the trailer. I said are you hurt? She said no. I said you and the little girl go underneath the tree. The next day when she called me back she said that’s what saved her life. The tree held the trailer down. Even though they were wet, the tree kept the trailer down.”

Call after call…

“Up in the 41 area, the lady called me during the storm and said her house was rocking side to side. I was in the office in Moncks Corner. I said how many children in the house? She said 3. I said take your 3 children and go in the bathroom and close the door. She told me the next day she said the whole house just about vanished. But she said they were saved in the bathroom because the door was closed and her and her three children was in the room.”

Capt. Henry Greene was a volunteer at the Alvin Fire Department.

“We went to my parents’ house and water was coming through the brick walls,” he recalled. “I thought that been the longest night. I thought daylight was never coming.”

After it was over…

“We had to get out and help also with trucks and chainsaws at least open up one lane on the road in case emergency needed it,” he said.

Rev. Earl Beauford is a retired pastor and sheriff’s deputy. During Hugo, he was the county Director of Disaster.

“After Hugo, everything was gone, a bust,” he said.

The Alvin community center became a sort of a central location to distribute supplies to people in northern Berkeley County.

“…because everybody was in need. Everybody was in need,” he said. “They didn’t have no power water or nothing… even food.”

Even today, in his 80s, he has nightmares.

“I think I almost lose some of my mind. Because, you know, when I go sleep in the night it seems like I’m still answering calls. See I ain’t never seen anything like this before.”

But they are all glad they could help…

“Oh, I feel good. I think that is something the Lord—the word was coming to me because people were calling so fast. I was opening my mouth, but I think the Lord sent an angel to speak, to tell me a word to tell the people. And it worked out pretty good.”

All three of these men continue to serve their community here in Alvin, either at the sheriff substation or the fire department.

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