HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – In the wake of Hurricane Florence and the aftermath of flooding, two high school students made sure the Socastee area didn’t feel alone.
In this week’s Student Spotlight, Socastee High School seniors Iliriana Lekani and Ward Wilson are leaders inside their classroom, but also outside the hallways when their community was in need of help.
Both students said the outcome they saw the few days after Florence was way beyond their thoughts when they helped organize the sand bagging effort and masses of people showed up to lend a hand.
“It was just such a great energy, such a positive energy and it was so full of life too, There was just hundreds and hundreds of people coming together for one mission,” Wilson said.
It stretched farther than Socastee,
“It was Sharks, Braves, Seahawks, Tigers, even the Bluejackets," Wilson said. "All of these teams were there; it was inspiring and beautiful.”
“We had thousands of people and over 400,000 sand bags donated, made, filled delivered. I was so heartwarmed and just touched by everyone who was willing to leave their jobs and their free time to help everyone who was in need,” Lekani said.
As so many people were preparing for imminent flooding after Hurricane Florence, Lekani and Wilson made sure their community didn’t feel alone. They used social media to spread the word, like their school’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
“Then it was just really word of mouth and their willingness and it just spread more than we could have imagined,” Wilson said.
The sand bagging project was just a small part of a much larger meaningful mission.
“We were in Rosewood and we were actually helping with houses and moving people out and getting them evacuated with all their furniture," Wilson said.
For Lekani, she recalled when they would walk inside people’s homes after flooding.
“We would offer them a place to stay and live or transportation and we would offer everything they needed to get out. They would just drop to tears and give us the biggest hug and say we changed their lives and that is the best feeling ever,” she said.
Wilson and Lekani explained how they couldn’t have done it without the help of so many.
“For resources, our state representative, Heather Ammons Crawford, the city of Myrtle Beach and Horry County officials all helped so much,” Wilson said.
The need doesn’t end with the sand bagging project and the students said they understand the need is still out there.
“After that, we actually started as a school and community. We created a relief program; there’s a locker room full of supplies here at the school,” Wilson said.
“I don’t think this project will go forgotten because it was so incredibly successful,” Lekani said.
“As they say once a Brave, always a Brave,” Wilson said.