County helps one of its own after fire loss

Published 4:37 pm Monday, February 27, 2023

The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors’ docket was short of events Monday, but county officials still had something important to discuss: How to help those 28 residents impacted by the early Sunday fire at Brookwood apartments at 115 E. Chippewa St. Two people died in the tragedy.

Several county department heads have stepped up to address the needs of a beloved courthouse employee, Angeline Wilson, who lost everything in the fire. Wilson’s been with the county since June 2014.

Emergency Management Director Chris Reid said Wilson seems to be in good spirits despite the tragedy and another person who was present during the fire said he didn’t even know Wilson herself was a fire victim due to her trying to help others who had escaped the flames.

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Reid, who was there during the fire and afterward, was honored with kudos from county employees as well as the supervisors for “doing everything he could do to help” during the fire. Supervisors vocalized their appreciation of Reid’s actions.

District 5’s supervisor, Doug Falvey, said if county employees wanted to give just $5 each, the $500 they could give to Wilson could definitely be enough to make a real difference. He also suggested that people could donate time if they couldn’t donate money. “Bad things happen to good people,” he said with sadness. “Let’s do all we can to step up to make sure she has a better [future].”

All the supervisors agreed to bring their own personal donations to the next board meeting Monday and Chancery Clerk Alisha McGehee has agreed to be a point of contact for anyone wanting to donate gift cards for Wilson. Wilson banks at Bank of Brookhaven if donors wish to leave monetary donations.

Gwen Smith, a local who works as a Red Cross worker, was at the site Monday. She said eventually the residents whose apartments burned will need things like sofas and lamps – “things you don’t normally think about. They could use canned food and food vouchers, too.”

As for donations, Reid said FEMA would no longer be able to hold any more donations at this time. “We are having to close it down because the Brookhaven community has been so awesome with donating. It’s really something to see. But there is just no more room.”

Currently, displaced residents are in hotels. Residents whose homes were smoke damaged will be able to return in about a week, Reid said.

Interested parties are asked to watch for notifications in the Daily Leader for donation needs in the future.