The Barefoot Resort community in North Myrtle Beach refused to let cloudy skies and rain dampen their happy spirits. Approximately 100 people gathered at the resident’s club and pool area on Saturday, April 24th, to reflect on last years devastating Horry County wildfire. Even though 70 houses in Barefoot Resort were destroyed, 47 have been rebuilt.
Free food was prepared by The Trestle, a catering service located on 322 Main Street, Conway, S.C. They served a variety of foods including chicken, meatballs, and sandwiches. Delicious pastries and fruit were also available
The Carousels provided great entertainment. Although primarily a beach band, they play music to suit any taste and agenda.
Becky Rankin, Lifestyles Director of Barefoot Resort in North Myrtle Beach, planned the party to celebrate life and a new beginning. The Caring Counsel of Barefoot recognized each family whose home was destroyed by the wildfire. They were given flowers to plant in their new yards. The flower represents a fresh start for the owners of rebuilt homes… This simple gesture caused many teary eyes. The touching song, “Somewhere over the Rainbow” was performed by the Carousels. The crowd applauded loudly.
Frank and Maria Carinha, who lost their home to the Horry County wildfire, were moved by the heart-rending ceremony. Frank remarked, “That’s what this community is all about. People helping people. The amount of support is amazing.”
Other fire victims pointed out how they made positive changes in their rebuilt homes. Doug Green, a Pittsburgh Steeler fan, decorated his garage with Steeler memorabilia. He said, “I even painted the floor black and gold.” His wife, Debby, decided against a formal dining room in their new North Myrtle Beach home. She stated “They never used the dining room anyway.”
Art and Barbara Chartier agreed with the Greens’. Art said, “After living in a house for several years, you see what needs to be changed. So we put some things in the new house that weren’t in the old.” The Chartiers added a black backyard fence, a window above their bed, some beautiful tray ceilings and glass kitchen cabinets to their new dwelling in North Myrtle Beach.
Most of the Barefoot Resort residents of North Myrtle Beach survivors were content to share this day with friends and family. They have worked hard to rebuild there community. Although there are some things that can’t be replaced, Maria Carinha said, “Having friends, food and a roof over our heads is all that matters. That is the most important.”
As an added note, although the Horry County Wildfire consumed homes and property, everyone escaped death. The fire spread to the Barefoot Resort Community in North Myrtle Beach with little warning and most residents fled with none or little belongings. Residents are still questioning how the evacuation was handled by the North Myrtle Beach Public Safety Department.