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As Hurricane Floyd ravaged through Eastern North Carolina in 1999 it was at about 2:00 AM on the morning of Friday, September 15, 1999 that my sister, then Mayor of Princeville, called me and simple said I am evacuating the town; I want you to know that I will be at Sylvia’s house. The next day I learned that Princeville was under almost 50 feet of water and that East Tarboro, the area where we grew up, had also been devastated. Early on the following Monday morning I drove into Tarboro with my pickup truck loaded with clothes and other necessities for my family members who were affected. I navigated myself around the water logged streets to our house on Panola Street. In the yard of the Grimes house next to our house was a lady down on her knees. I walked over to investigate and it was Mrs. Marie Bryant. Her house in East Tarboro was under water. She was staying at the Grimes house.

I looked further and Low and behold she was planting flowers. Hello Miss Marie, I said. I am sorry about your house. Thank you Fred she said, it’s good to see you. Then her words were touching and they have stayed with me. "Yes, the house is gone and we have lost everything that we had. But that was ‘just stuff.’ We are alive and we will be alright. Thank God. The house that I left had flowers, lots of flowers and I love flowers. I just wanted to plant me some flowers."

In this season of Thanksgivings we have a lot to be thankful for. We hope that those people on our eastern coast who have been ravaged by Hurricane Sandy and the Nor-easterner can reach deep into their bag of faith, dismiss the loss of stuff and find a "flower of hope" and the strength to say thank you God. We hope that people from all walks of life -- those in the midst of hardship and danger as well as those with a “Horn of Plenty” can lift up their voices in Thanksgiving and grace.

The W. A. Pattillo High School National Alumni Association certainly thanks you for your support of our past activities and the anticipated support for the coming year. It is rewarding to know that you stand with us as we endeavor to preserved and celebrate a history that speaks volumes about a town, a people and a legacy that must live on.

The best of the season to each of you. With warmest regards we are:

Sincerely yours

W. A. Pattillo High School National Alumni Association, Inc.

 Fred S. Wood, Jr., Ed.D.

National President

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