have moved on, the town still is re- building. But thanks to the efforts of some, the city isn’t going at it alone.


Shortly after the flood waters reced- ed, Jay Gaskins joined the throngs of New Bern residents trying to rebuild their homes with local contractors. But with only four main options in town, all local contractors were maxed out, helping as best they could. Seeking an alternative, Gaskins picked up the phone to call his con- tractor friend, Darin Brockelbank, in Charlotte. Brockelbank made the four-hour trek to New Bern and, upon seeing the devastation, felt called to help the community rebuild. “The reality is that there is still a lot of devastation going on in the city of New Bern and the surrounding areas,” Brockelbank reflected. “Some of it can be seen as you drive through the streets of communities like Fairfield Harbour and Riverbend, as you try to navigate your car through the debris in the yards and on the street. Along the way, you will see hundreds of people living in RVs or trailers outside their home with the last bit of belongings stored in a POD on their property.” So, Brockelbank ramped down business in Charlotte and assembled a team. With the goal to help New Bern rebuild and grow even stron- ger, Brockelbank focused his team’s efforts through a new organization: MetroRealEstate. With the capacity to nearly double local contractors’ impact, Brockel- bank’s organization aims to go beyond repairs of simply what people can see. “For the communities that have been cleaned up on the outside, the aftermath can't totally be seen until you go inside the homes,” Brockelbank said. “They have been gutted, mucked out and drywall cut up 4 to 8-feet high.

Firm Commits 100,000 Hours of Community Service to Hurricane- Ravaged New Bern METROREALESTATE AIMS FOR COMMUNITY IMPACT THROUGH REHAB EXPERTISE.

For more information on volunteering, check out MetroRealEstate at

Some have been remedied for mold, and others haven't. Some will struggle for months or years to get a contrac- tor, others aren't sure where to turn or what to do next.”

As contrac-

tors rebuild, Gaskins and Brockelbank are assisting residents with recovery processes

through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Small Business Administration.


by Bobby Burch

hen you searched “New Bern, North Carolina” years ago, you’d turn up fun historical facts or photos of the quaint town of 30,000 people. Now, the results aren’t so rosy. Peppered among visitor's informa- tion are images of Hurricane Flor- W

ence’s devastation, stories of strand- ed people and data on the millions of dollars the city incurred as a result of flooding and high winds. Florence hit land months ago in mid-September, but its effects are still being felt throughout the historic

city, founded in 1710. New Bern offi- cials estimate that Florence caused more than $100 million in damage to homes and businesses as a result of flood waters that lingered for days. And though national attention has shifted and federal recovery groups

To deepen their impact, MetroReal- Estate is planning to donate 100,000 hours of community service to the city of New Bern over the next two years. It’s also helping to rally volunteers in and around North Carolina to maxi- mize their collective impact.

> Continued on :: PG 81

Bobby Burch is the Founder of Bobby Burch Creative, a small business story- telling studio. Learn more at bobby- and contact him


66 | think realty housing news report :: february / march 2019

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