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The Hughes family went to Edisto Memorial Gardens ahead of Tropical Storm Florence.

Willie Mae Fair remembers Hurricane Matthew. The storm pushed a tree through her roof, with a limb dropping right next to her husband, who was in bed.

“Once you have it happen to you, you really get afraid,” she said.

Wind, rain no worry for some in Holly Hill

Fair was at the Piggly Wiggly on Edisto Drive on Friday afternoon, buying some meat to grill in case Tropical Storm Florence knocks out power to her home. She’s prepared, but was still worried as the storm approached.

“I have a lot of trees in my yard,” she said.

A number of people were enjoying their last day of freedom before the storm by shopping for last-minute items and walking around Edisto Memorial Gardens.

Orangeburg County firefighters ready for high water

The Neighborhood Walmart on Stonewall Jackson Boulevard was closed for the storm, with blue pallets stacked behind the glass doors.

But down the street at the Dollar General, Kevin Ard and his family were “running some errands and getting out of the house one last time.”

As pastor of Rivelon Baptist Church, Ard was also working to make sure his parishioners are OK.

Hurricane Matthew knocked the steeple off Rivelon Baptist in 2016. The church created a fund to have it replaced, but hasn’t made a decision yet.

“At the moment, I’m thankful we haven’t put one up yet,” he said.

Brian Davis of Bowman made sure he had food and gas for his generator earlier in the week. He was still out Friday getting last-minute supplies, saying “I have everything, but you don’t know how long it will last.”

“My mama always said be over prepared,” he said.

Glenda Baldwin of Cordova went to Edisto Memorial Gardens with grandchildren Braden, 3, and Seth, 8.

“I figure we’re going to be stuck inside the next couple of days with the rain, so I figured we’d get out in the breeze,” she said. “This is our fun before the storm.”

Ty’Mari Mack had the same idea. The 3-year-old convinced Marilyn Mack and Stevie Moore to take him to see the ducks at the gardens.

Moore said they’re prepared with water, dry food, canned food and ice.

Even so, Marilyn Mack said “I’m just wondering what it is going to do.”

South Carolina has been prepared for the storm for days. So has the Hughes family.

“We have candles, water and food,” Karen said.

They spent the afternoon walking through the gardens with sons Ethan and Jaylan and their puppy, Scrappy.

“We had to get out of the house,” Joe said.

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Managing Editor

Gene Crider is an Orangeburg native. He has been reporting since 1992. Please contact him with story ideas at or 803-533-5570.

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