Jeff Dippold, treasurer of the Ocracoke Fire Prevention Association that oversees the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department operations, accepts a $1,400 donation from the NC Shell Club. Photo: P. Vankevich

By Peter Vankevich

Although the North Carolina Shell Club has not held its annual spring meeting on Ocracoke for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have not forgotten the island.

From a special live auction at their September meeting in Cedar Point, the club raised $1,400 for Ocracoke and donated it to the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department. 

The OVFD gratefully accepted the donation since its most important fundraiser, the Firemen’s Ball, has also not been held for two years due to COVID concerns.

“This is much-needed and greatly appreciated,” said Fire Chief Albert O’Neal. “It’s also good timing as we need to replace a fire engine.”

This is not the first donation and support the club has given Ocracoke in a time of need. Soon after Hurricane Dorian devastated the island, they responded quickly by sending supplies and money to help with the recovery efforts.  

In June 2020, club members brought 748 books to help replenish the collections of the Ocracoke Community Library, which Dorian had flooded, along with the rest of the island, in September 2019.

About 1,400 books were water-damaged more than half of which were children’s books. Of the books the shell club members delivered, 673 were children’s books and 65 adult books.

The club plans to return to Ocracoke for its 2022 spring meeting, the date to be determined.

The North Carolina Shell Club formed in 1957. In 1964, they nominated and successfully campaigned to make the Scotch Bonnet North Carolina’s official state shell.

Anyone with an interest in North Carolina mollusks and shells and wishes to learn more or share your knowledge about them, this membership-based nonprofit is a great resource and provides a wealth of information:

To read about previous spring meetings to Ocracoke and their discoveries:
Shell club member discovers ‘super find’ on Portsmouth
The road to Devil Shoals is paved with…

Point of disclosure: Peter Vankevich is a volunteer firefighter and a member of the North Carolina Shell Club.

Along with hundreds of other groups, the N.C. Shell Club sent supplies to Ocracoke following Dorian's devastating flooding Sept. 6, 2019. Photo: C. Leinbach
Along with hundreds of other groups, the N.C. Shell Club sent supplies to Ocracoke following Dorian’s devastating flooding Sept. 6, 2019. Photo: C. Leinbach
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