ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WBTW) – Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers visited Robeson County in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
“To actually come out here and see it first-hand, it makes it real,” he said. “It’s not great that this is happening, but it’s great that everybody’s coming out trying to help.”
Peppers visited several Robeson County homes that were destroyed by the hurricane.
“Seeing all the stuff outside that people had to throw away, trees down, and the water damage, you know, people’s homes riding past, [and] viewing all the destruction and devastation it’s heartbreaking, and it makes you want to help out even more.”
Peppers worked alongside disaster recovery volunteers to rebuild homes in the county.
“We’re going to go in, and help try to repair some of these homes,” he told News13. “I’m here to offer help any way possible, and give people hope, and people just coming out take a picture; shaking hands things like that help as well.”
Although the defensive end is not from Lumberton, he said he grew up about an hour and a half away in Bailey.
“It’s personal for me because this is home,” Peppers said. “It’s close to home,’ he continued. “I just wanted to get out, and lend a helping hand to someone who was in need.”
Peppers said he did not know the man he helped was a City of Lumberton police officer.
“They’re always the first people to respond, and help others so it’s only fitting that we can come out and help these guys rebuild their home,” he said.
Gregory Moore said he was shocked when he heard Peppers was at his home Tuesday afternoon.
“I had no idea he was going to come,” said Moore. “It touches your heart to see all these people here helping, you know, to get things back right the way they were before.”
Moore said he hadn’t recovered from Hurricane Matthew in 2016 when Florence hit in September.
“I was still in the process of getting everything back together, and putting everything back in so I hadn’t fully got there yet,” Moore said.
Moore said he was in one of the shelters provided by the county with his three children and fiance during the storm. He said his family is staying in a hotel until they are able to move back into the home.
“It’s rough because it’s like, you know, as soon as you get that little ray of hope that you finally getting everything back together then you get another hurricane coming through, and wipes everything back out that you had,” said Moore.
Moore said he has faith that he’ll be back in his home soon despite the devastation.
“I just thank God for everything,” Moore said with his family by his side. “He brought me out of the first one, and I know He’s going to bring me out of this one.”
Peppers said his family was not affected by the hurricane, but still wanted to help people affected in the state.
“Thankfully we didn’t have anything happen directly in my area,” he said. “Surrounding areas got hit a little bit, but this is actually my first time visiting a place that’s been hit by a hurricane.”
Peppers started the ‘Julius Peppers Hurricane Relief Fund’ at the end of September, and challenged teammates to donate money.
“Had a lot of people participate,” said Peppers. “We’re still encouraging people to participate. If you’re able and willing to donate we appreciate it, and we need help,” he continued. “We’re going to encourage everybody to continue helping.”
You can donate to the Julius Peppers Hurricane Relief Fund here.