Roye warms#8217; the Christmas spirit By Cal Bryant 12/24/2005 RICH SQUARE – Just call it an early Christmas presentstraight from the heart. On Wednesday of this week, Joi Barnette was attempting to a

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 24, 2005

RICH SQUARE – Just call it an early Christmas present…straight from the heart.

On Wednesday of this week, Joi Barnette was attempting to adjust the thermostat in her Rich Square home when she realized something was amiss. The gas furnace was bone dry, the tank empty from weeks of frigid weather.

Without the money to purchase fuel, she phoned her gas supplier in an effort to ask for credit.

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“I told them I had money coming in four days from now, enough to buy 60 gallons, but they would not extend me any credit,” Barnette said.

She then turned to the Northampton County Department of Social Services. However, the money they annually set aside for heating assistance was like her gas tank n bone dry.

“They referred me to CADA for assistance,” Barnette said. “But it was the same story with them; they didn’t have any funds for this purpose.”

It was then that Barnette felt her heart sink. She thought of a Christmas at home with her two daughters and three grandchildren, all without heat.

“We were stuck here with no heat,” she noted.

However, one additional phone call proved as the answer to her family’s dilemma.

“I called the Rich Square Police Department,” said Barnette. “Chief (Bo Bo) Roye was there. I explained our situation and he told me he’d be here in a few minutes.”

Roye arrived with more than Barnette had bargained for.

“Chief Roye had gone to his garage and brought us his personal kerosene heater,” Barnette said.

But that wasn’t all. Along for the ride to Barnette’s home was a five gallon container full of kerosene, toys for the children, food for the adults and a Christmas card containing $20 in cash.

“I cried…my girls cried at the sight of this generous spirit,” Barnette said.

Barnette added that she could not imagine this type of generosity happening anywhere but in a small community.

“That’s what we love about living here in rural North Carolina,” said Barnette, a native of Virginia who has lived in the Roanoke-Chowan area for the past six years (one year in Rich Square).

“Chief Roye went above and beyond the call of duty,” she concluded. “We really appreciate his act of kindness and I just wanted the public to know what a fine man he truly is.”