In 2016, an incredible story of resilience unfolded on Daufuskie.
Hurricane Matthew was an extremely powerful Atlantic hurricane which caused catastrophic damage and a humanitarian crisis in Haiti, as well as widespread devastation in the southeastern United States. On October 8, the hurricane made landfall in South Carolina.
As Hurricane Matthew approached South Carolina’s Daufuskie Island, Governor Nikki Haley made a desperate plea for evacuation all coastal residents to evacuate. Yet, against all odds and amidst the raging storm, “The Daufuskie 100” remained on the island in defiance of great danger. Some believe their courage was rewarded with no casualties or injuries to speak of. Others feel the 100 were very lucky to have taken such risks.
Many stayed to protect their animals.
Among those were Erica Veit with the Marsh Tacky Society, Pat Beichler from the Daufuskie Island Community Farm and Laura Winholt from the Cat Sanctuary – all determined not to abandon their animals. While some felt safer hunkering down at home than facing evacuation dangers. Others like Winholt researched hurricane survival techniques and planned for worst-case scenarios. Ultimately everyone hoped that despite forecasts claiming otherwise, weather conditions would be merciful towards this small Island community.
Governor Haley, determined to save all citizens of Daufuskie from impending doom, employed various strategies.
Warnings were sent door-to-door. Anyone refusing to go were asked to provide officials of their next of kin. This had no effect. She then held a special news conference where she warned that people would die due to 8 feet of seawater engulfing Daufuskie. One final ferry run and attempts for deploying national guard helicopters failed to persuade the 100. Then, conditions did not allow for anymore evacuations.
Over 2 thousand trees fell victim to Mother Nature’s wrath that day. Power was out. Reports stated flooding occurred for some residents living closer to the water. Small tornadoes and fallen trees took a toll on some homes. Boast were lost, and alligators were displaced into yards. But, all in all, little Daufuskie Island, and its human and animal populations fared well.
So where are they now?
It is assumed – you guessed it – that they are still here. Unfortunately, the leader of the Daufuskie 100, Dave Hutton passed away not long after the hurricane at the age of 27. Hutton was instrumental in the post-hurricane clean up and a Daufuskie Council member. His death was unexpected. He suffered a heart attack while on a hunting trip in Montana.