Faces From the Flood

Burgaw residents Buster Leverette and Cindy Burnett remember the startling sight that awaited them as they headed out into Hurricane Floyd’s floodwaters to rescue four horses.

“In the houseFacess that weren’t completely covered, you could see dogs on the rooftops and dogs parting the curtains and looking out,” she recalls. “There were chickens floating on top of chicken coops, and those were the lucky ones.”

Buster and Cindy are two of the several eastern North Carolina residents public television audiences will meet in Faces From the Flood: Hurricane Floyd Remembered. Produced by Donna Campbell and based on the eponymous book by Richard Moore and Jay Barnes, this compelling documentary delves into the devastation triggered by Hurricane Floyd and rain-swollen waterways and offers inspiration from the stories of some of its heroes.

Faces From the Flood offers an intimate look at the everyday people who became extraordinary heroes and their drive to survive and rebuild. From volunteer firefighters who braved the rushing waters to 87-year-old Hazel Sorrell, who established a center to streamline services to flood victims, to veterinarian Cindy Burnett and her husband Buster Leverette, who worked tirelessly to rescue countless numbers of animals and find them homes, Faces From the Flood captures the stories of people who put their lives aside to help others.

North Carolina treasurer Richard Moore recalls traveling to eastern North Carolina after Hurricane Floyd hit in September 1999. As NC secretary of the Division of Emergency Management at the time, he had seen his share of hurricane damage, but nothing in his experience prepared him for the aerial view of tens of thousands of homes, businesses and communities under water. Hurricane Floyd claimed 52 lives and left some $6 billion in damages in its wake.

“We had people who were trying to get lights back on, or keep lights on, that did heroic efforts,” Moore says in the documentary. “We had ordinary people who literally got up out of bed in the middle of the night and put their lives at risk, who dove under things, who swam, who did all these incredible things. More than a dozen lost their lives trying to rescue people.”

Through evocative personal stories and dramatic images, Faces From the Flood: Hurricane Floyd Remembered recalls the havoc and heroism of Hurricane Floyd, explores its continuing impact and shares lessons learned to manage future disasters. This film, from the producer of Hard Rain and Higher Ground, reveals the kindheartedness that spawned from a terrible disaster.