How The Beacon Was Born

A view of Cape Lookout Lighthouse at night. NPS photo: Paul Terry

It was all about neighbors helping neighbors.

A natural disaster, Hurricane Florence, threw our lives into unnatural spins. Homes here in Carteret County, North Carolina were flooded from both the sky and from the sea. We had experienced fierce storms before, but Florence was unique in her fierce approach and her unrelenting barrage of wind and water.

The Eastern Beacon didn’t start off under that name. It began as a simple Facebook group with a mission to share my armchair tropical storm analysis and connect with friends who also planned to hunker down as the storm blew over.

But that group grew into much more. By the time Florence hit, nearly 3000 people had joined the discussion. We shared our experiences, photos, and updates about the storm. Those who evacuated checked in on neighbors and loved ones.

After Florence’s torrent finally subsided, the community came together to make sense of what happened. Volunteers checked on the homes of people who weren’t able to. Others gave updates on the availability of supplies. Many who evacuated reached out, asking what they could bring back home to help the community.

Florence devastated the lives of so many people in our community. But she also sparked something amazing. She brought the community together. Truly. Honestly. Without ego, without self congratulation for charitable acts.

I have never experienced such an honest and genuine uprising of neighbors helping neighbors. From sharing information on infrastructure recovery to delivering U-Hauls full of relief supplies, the members of that simple Facebook group rose up and took care of each other.

This sense of community and the understanding that information is as comforting as it is powerful is what inspired me to start The Eastern Beacon. I wouldn’t be here without those who supported the effort to ensure our community could remain connected despite the hardships Florence dealt.

This publication exists because the community believed in the free exchange of information, and because its members support the Beacon’s mission.

Taylor McCune
Founder & Editor