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Captain Sheridan Called to Action

Capt. Dwayne Sheridan’s unit of the South Carolina State Guard was ready within hours of getting the call for help.

Counterparts with the state National Guard had reached out, seeking assistance distributing food and water to local families struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

Captain Dwayne Sheridan hugs a lady whom he just helped during the hurricane.Sheridan, a registered nurse who works in the radiology department at Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital, sprang into action. He pulled together unit members from as far away as Myrtle Beach and Beaufort. One 10-member team of Sheridan’s all-volunteer unit was sent to Brown’s Ferry Elementary School in Georgetown, the other to the town’s McDonald Elementary School.

They arrived at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, to find each area still stumbling following Hurricane Matthew’s powerful strike. With no electricity to power refrigerators, freezers and other kitchen appliances, many residents lost their perishable food to spoilage and had few ways to prepare what remained edible.

Traffic to McDonald Elementary – where Sheridan was located -- fluctuated but picked up over time as word spread that food and water were available. People came by car, moped, golf cart and on foot. One man with a cane walked more than a mile.

By the end of the day, the team at McDonald Elementary distributed an astounding 14,000 meals and 35 pallets of water bottles, Sheridan said.

“They were very appreciative,” he said of community members who picked up supplies. “They were just ecstatic that they could get stuff.”

Sheridan, a 25-year employee partner at Tidelands Health, said his involvement in the State Guard is part of his long commitment to the country and the local community. He found the experience very rewarding.

“You should never hang it up,” he said. “You should always give back to the community.”

He considered his family lucky to have avoided significant property damage or personal injury in the storm. His family’s home suffered three downed trees and lost shingles, and their property was littered with debris.

“Other than that, we are all healthy and safe,” he said. “Everything we lost can be replaced.”