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Islanders reeled in August from two deaths involving residents’ relatives, and the community rallied around these families—bringing food, helping with chores and arrangements, giving spiritual support and more.

Many of these generous souls didn’t wait until their vague “let me know if I can help” sentiment was responded to. They just did.

Some have noted what a caring community this is, and we certainly agree.

Those of us who have lived elsewhere have seen that when some tragedy occurs, fundraisers and other supportive activities are launched, for the affected families and friends.  

But maybe because other communities are larger, it is not as evident as what we see here.

One thing is certain about Ocracoke: this island community looks out for each other.

This is evident daily when islanders go off island or “up the beach” for items not available here. People inform their friends, or even post a message on Facebook, such as, “I’m going to Home Depot tomorrow. If anyone needs anything, let me know.

This is not something recent transplants are used to.

In larger communities, most simply go shopping by themselves. They don’t typically ask their friends if they need anything unless those friends or neighbors happen to be home-bound.

Sometimes the requests stay local–with people seeking items to borrow or just asking the community if somebody has extra of something.

Almost everyone visits the Village Thrift, a nonprofit store that benefits the Ocracoke Youth Center. This store has a trove of inexpensive used goods from clothing to bread-making machines. There is also the special community Facebook page “O-Bay” where an array of items are sought, sold and sometimes given away.

Lacking the vast amenities of the rest of urban America and being so isolated, we make do without the vast assault of consumerist commercial America.

Because Ocracoke is an island accessible by ferry, we do look out for each other, which is one of the great beauties of this place.

We agree with Bill Jones, who told the group of inner-city Durham teens who visited the island in early August, “I came for the beach, but I stayed for the community.”

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  1. The community outpouring of care was/is much appreciated for my Uncle Butch Bryan when his wife our Aunt Debbie Bryan passed this past January and for everything everyone did and the food for her Celebration of Life service last month.

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