Anson Record readers overwhelmingly nominated Wadesboro business owner and philanthropist Robbie Hill as the Anson County Person of the Year.
When the paper posted the question on Facebook asking for feedback, the post was shared 16 times and liked or reacted to 40 times. There were 132 comments from people nominating their local hero.
Robbie Hill, owner of Four a Loader Work, LLC, had the overwhelming majority with 90 votes.
Vancine Sturdivant, an Anson County commissioner and leader of the county branch of Toys for Tots, followed with 24.
Angela Tina Caraway, founder of The Caraway Foundation, received three votes. The Rev. Steve Adams, lead pastor of Harvest Ministries Outreach Center in Wadesboro, Leon Gatewood, leader of the HOLLA! Center in Morven, county historian Steve Bailey and Steve Northcutt each received two votes.
Chuck Horne, Charlotte Treadaway, Robin Sanford, Ken Caulder, Mallory Gathings, Sarah Todd Hutchinson, Tyler Greene, Wesley Stegall, and Anson native and Robeson County school counselor and hurricane flood volunteer Rebecca Freeman each had one nomination, and Chrystal H. Robinson was self-nominated.
Hill and his wife, Keelie, mobilized volunteers to provide flood relief following Hurricane Matthew through their Facebook profiles, using #hauling4acause on their posts. They also set signs up in parking lots where they loaded supplies alerting passers-by that they needed donations for flood victims. Then, they spent hours driving the donations across the eastern part of the state to wherever they found a need.
On Oct. 10, Robbie posted that there was an immediate need for Tylenol, baby formula, band-aids, baby bottles and much more. He organized drop-off stations for the supplies and added them to his post. Listed drop-offs included locations outside of Anson County.
Keelie Hill documented the couple’s mission on her Facebook profile with live videos, photos and posts telling where the couple was going and what requests they had received.
She also posted pictures of Four a Loader Work orange t-shirts bearing the hashtag and a picture of a dump truck on Oct. 25, saying that the money from the $15 shirts would go to the flood relief fund.
In his first post about the flood supplies, Robbie Hill said that he drove a truck full of supplies for the Anson Baptist Association to towns after Hurricane Floyd hit in 1999.
Robbie Hill’s initial call for help garnered 252 likes, 402 shares and 113 comments, with people volunteering to help, offering drop-off sites and to bring supplies.
He didn’t stop there.
“Now I got flood victims children on my mind and Fixn to load supplies and toys to go down east,” he posted on Dec. 15. He asked that anyone who wanted to send a toy contact his office, then made a delivery last week days before Christmas.
Robbie Hill received somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000 in monetary donations, in addition to blankets, fuel for deliveries, food and many other supplies.
He received so much money that he opened a bank account to keep it safe and create transaction records after calling his accountant with JB Watson for advice. His accountant will help him when tax time comes, and Hill said all of his donation records are available if anyone wants to see how he spent the money.
He said that rather than trying to anticipate needs, he tried to wait until he received specific requests before purchasing anything in order to avoid wasting it.
Much of what he delivered was from donations. Hill recalled one time where a pastor said he had several Mexican families displaced by the flood who needed food. The pastor asked for beans and rice. Before Robbie had the chance to try to buy any, another pastor showed up with the exact supplies he needed.
Hill didn’t catch the name of the pastor making the delivery, but said that he was coming from the far side of Monroe, meaning he was on his way before Hill received the request.
“I don’t know of any way you can explain that, sweetheart,” he said. “You can call it anything you want to, but I just call it God.”
Robbie Hill navigated through flooded areas, even receiving police escorts to access closed-off areas to deliver his supplies. Keelie Hill coordinated supply gathering and deliveries from the passenger seat and communicated with people to make contacts in the delivery areas.
Robbie Hill said God even helped him with his business so that he could spend weeks solely on flood relief when his trucks were used by another company for weeks to help with road washouts.
“Every time I had some kind of obstacle, it was almost like I had some miracle to fix it all,” he said. “My wife even looked at me after three or four days and said, ‘This is beyond us.’ She said, ‘You don’t even have to dispatch your trucks.’”
PERSON OF THE YEAR
His heart for the flooding victims encouraged at least some of his supporters to nominate him as the Anson County Person of the Year.
“I’m not the only one that thinks you did great things for others this year!” Marlena Singletary wrote on the Record’s post. “You helped out a lot of ppl and brought a lot of ppl close together and you showed ppl that good ppl do still exist! A lot of ppl thank God for you and what you do and did for them! In my eyes you’re man if the year to me!”
Kimberly Edwards-Glover also responded to the post voting for Hill.
“If anybody but Robbie Hill is chosen I am going to seriously wonder what is wrong with Anson county,” she wrote.
“Definitely Robbie Hill, he pulled our county together and showed the entire world what the true meaning of love faith and hard work can accomplish,” Karen Eddins Martin wrote.
“Yall makin me cry,” Hill responded to his supporters. “I was just an arm I had sooooooooooooooooo much help and a big god.”
Robbie and Keelie Hill have 10 children; several of the kids helped sort donations and load them for transport, and their oldest son helped deliver some supplies. Robbie Hill opened Four a Loader in 2005.
He credited Keelie, his children, and individuals, churches and businesses in several counties for helping to make his mission a success, calling it a “multi-community” effort.
“I have had a lot of help,” he said. “That’s what I want people to understand. I don’t mind them recognizing me, but if it hadn’t have been for those people doing what they done, there’s no way I could have pulled it off.”
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.