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After The Flood

As we all stop and give thanks, there's a man in North Carolina with a Thanksgiving story worth hearing. His name is Wilbur King and when Hurricane Floyd hit North Carolina last September, his was among the many businesses destroyed by floodwaters. Even before the waters receded, CBS News followed King as he returned to what was left of his family-owned business, a business that had stood for 63 years.

"I never imagined that it could rise so fast," King said at the time of the disaster. "You can laugh or cry, and crying only gets you red eyes and a headache. So we just going to try to take it one step at a time. Whatever the good Lord says is supposed to be, I'm for it. I have faith in that."

On Thanksgiving morning, King was at the newly reopened King's Barbecue in Kinston, N.C. Early Show Anchor Bryant Gumbel observed that King had not been sure if he would reopen after the flood.

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"Well, as I said, I had a lot of faith, had a lot of friends and help," said King. "My customers and my friends changed my mind [about reopening]Â… I had so many offers of help. I had customers from 100 miles away offering to clean rest rooms. I had so many calls at home, people supporting me and wanting us to reopen, reminding us of what we meant to the community. So we just didn't really have a choice, to tell you the truth."

Before disaster struck, said King, he had no idea how many friends he had. Even his suppliers extended helping hands, telling King just to pay them when he is able. Within 28 days, his business was open again. And on Thanksgiving, he was planning to serve 600 pounds of turkey.

But not everyone in Kinston has been as fortunate as King. Fire chief Greg Smith said it is difficult to calculate how many people are displaced. More than 500 homes were affected by the Kinston floodwaters, and well over 300 of those families have not been able to move back into their homes.

"The biggest problem in a community our size," explained Smith, "is we don't have substantial housing for all of those people. We're making efforts to start to build structures for the people. A lot of families this day are located in trailer park that's been set up by the state government and by FEMA. That's the best we have right now."

To find out how to help victims recover from the wrath of Hurricane Floyd, visit the State of North Carolina Web site.

Donations may be sent to "Call Kinston Home" Redevelopment Effort, P.O. Box 339, Kinston, North Carolina 28502-03339.




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