ONWASA worker talks about work to clean up after Irma hit Florida Keys


NEW BERN, Craven County - A crew from the Onslow Water and Sewer Authority left for the Florida Keys recently to help with cleanup after Hurricane Irma.

NewsChannel 12 meteorologist Les Still and assistant news director Jaime McCutcheon spoke with Billy Snyder, who left with the crew last Friday to assist with the repairs. He spoke about incredible destruction and how the area has a lot to clean up.

"It's kind of hard to explain the amount of destruction you see is unreal being a Marine and traveling around the world and going to Third World countries and seeing bombs go off kind of reminds you of that," Snyder said. "You go into a neighborhood and you see entire place is destroyed. I'll use more of a foundation and the house is gone... The devastation is unreal."

Snyder has been through storms in North Carolina and said he at least had an idea of what to expect when he and the rest of the crew got there. However, it didn't minimize what he saw.

"In the very beginning, I kind of looked at it as a Fran and in Onslow County, North Topsail and the amount of damage they had," Snyder said. "But the more you go around, it's way worse than that. We talked to some people that have lived here their entire lives and they say it's the worst storm they have seen."

The strength of those people to get through the storm and work to rebuild what was lost is inspiring to Snyder and the others.

"That's what really surprising, the people down here are really strong, they've been supportive and they're probably some of the nicest people you'll ever meet," Snyder said. "We run into a couple and they're visibly shaken, tears, and the whole time they're trying to give us water and thanking us for helping them.

"The people down here have been nothing but grateful for her help, they're helping each other out and it's really what America is."

The team is expected to return to Onslow County at the end of October but their stay may be extended depending on how much work is completed.

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