First responders wed at damaged Thompson Farm days after hurricane

Published: Oct. 12, 2016 at 12:00 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 12, 2016 at 12:57 AM EDT
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A stump is left of the tree that took of the roof of Bucksville Hall (Source: Amy Lipman)
A stump is left of the tree that took of the roof of Bucksville Hall (Source: Amy Lipman)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Three days after a large pine tree went through Bucksville Hall on Thompson Farm, two North Myrtle Beach first responders who worked during Hurricane Matthew celebrated their marriage inside of it.

"I was determined to have this wedding," said Hannah McLaurin, now Hannah Hall.

Hall, a firefighter/paramedic for the North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety, met Bobby Hall, a traffic officer also with the NMBDPS, while working back in 2013.

They planned to get married Oct. 11 at Thompson Farm in Bucksport after taking a short trip to the mountains prior to the wedding.

That trip had to be canceled because the two were required to work after Hurricane Matthew threatened the Grand Strand.

"Worked all day Thursday for 24 hours," Hannah Hall said. "I was released at 7 a.m., Friday. I had to be back at base with enough food and clothes for 72 hours by 1800 hours on Friday."

She said she responded to fire alarms, medical calls, and search and rescue calls during the hurricane. One of those calls was the massive Cherry Grove fire Saturday night that destroyed five building.

"We were one of the first trucks in and trying to get a hold on that last fire before it moved over to another complex," she said.

While she was fighting an intense fire, her wedding venue had a tree through the middle of it.

She said she went right to sleep after her shift and people started contacting her about the damage at Thompson Farm.

"My phone was blowing up," Hall said. "You need to go look at Thompson Farm."

Saturday afternoon, the tree twisted and landed on top of Bucksville Hall, taking down the roof.

Scott Thompson woke up early Sunday to start the cleanup. He had help from a local country music band and several people from Coastal Carolina University.

"We cut the tree down. We dragged the tree out in pieces and then we pulled down each side of the barn that was leaning down," Thompson said.

He said he was determined to host the wedding despite the circumstances.

"I was just glad we were able to pull it off for them. That was the main thing," he said.

Now, Bucksville Hall's roof is open where the tree came down. Thompson hopes to have it replaced soon.

Before midnight Monday, the power came back on at Thompson Farm. There was a back-up plan in case the lights were still out.

"We were going to have it whether we were going to have generators or we were going to have candlelight," Hall said.

Some of the wedding vendors still don't have power.

"The florist, he said, 'I don't have power at my shop or at my house, but I have a generator at my house, so the flowers are in my refrigerator,'" said Joanna Babbitt, the wedding planner.

Babbitt added the photographer was in North Carolina due to the evacuation and the officiant was still on vacation.

The ceremony had to be moved from an oak tree that was destroyed during the storm to a nearby pecan tree.

Despite the difficulties, the wedding went forward.

"Everything we've gone through - with him getting hit by a car on duty from the storm, to our trip - it has been a whirlwind that we have gone through, so we're good to go," Hall said.

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