Shane Gallant of Canton, right, and his 15-year-old son Jacob, center, prepare to take a trailer full of supplies to North Carolina to help victims of Hurricane Florence. At left is Dan Richard of Dan’s Automotive in Rumford where donations were left. (Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times)
CANTON — A Canton truck driver headed south Thursday afternoon with a trailer full of hurricane relief supplies for North Carolina.
Former town Fire Chief Shane Gallant, who usually hauls lumber, started a 17-hour ride to help people who lost everything during Hurricane Florence.
“We’re actually bringing all this to a church. That’s going to be the distribution center,” he said.
The church in Morehead City was suggested by Gallant’s friend, Chad Childs, who lives in North Carolina.
A couple of months ago, Gallant, his friend Josh White in southern Maine and Childs had planned to go fishing in North Carolina.
“We haven’t seen Chad since we graduated high school” in Dixfield. “He loves to fish. We love to fish, so we planned a fishing trip. And we were leaving today, no matter what,” Gallant said.
Then Hurricane Florence came through.
Childs, who lives inland in Raleigh, wasn’t affected by the hurricane, Gallant said. “But he has a ton of friends who live in that coastal area and were affected. We had an empty trailer and we tried to fill it. Bring down what we can.”
The trailer was filled with items such as bottled water, tarps, bleach, toothpaste, toddler bedding and children’s clothing. Some were collected by Brenda Gagne from the Turner area.
Making the trip with Gallant was his son, Jacob, 15, who was excused from classes.
“This is a good learning experience for him,” his father said.
On their way south, the two stopped in New Hampshire for more donations, including bottled water and bleach.
It’s Gallant’s second trip to help with disaster relief.
“I was in Texas last year after Hurricane Harvey came through. I went down there for three months and worked the cleanup. I saw a lot of the devastation firsthand.”