What’s in a name?

By Keith Strange Staff Reporter

October 4, 2013

HOLLY SPRINGS — For members of the newly-formed Surry County Citizen’s Militia, a name can be a bit misleading.

Despite calling themselves a “militia,” organizers of the group say they’re more about supporting the citizens of the area than anything.

“The purpose of the group? We’re here for our community,” said Vice President Robert Flores Wednesday afternoon.

For Flores and the other two-dozen or so members, it’s about supporting others.

“Let’s say there was a home invasion that resulted in a house not being secure,” he said. “Hopefully, the sheriff would get in touch with us, and we’d go out there and work to help secure the house. All your emergency personnel can’t stay around and assist a homeowner once the emergency is over, but we can go out there and help. That’s what we want to do. Help and protect the community.”

Flores said the group has been in close contact with the county’s sheriff’s office since its inception in January.

“We talk to him quite a bit,” he said. “The sheriff is completely aware of what we’re doing and why we’re here.”

The militia is not affiliated with any political party, but Flores said the “militia” title does apply in one way.

“Guns are a part of our organization simply because we believe in the Second Amendment,” Flores said. “We firmly believe in the Bill of Rights and protecting the rights and property of Surry County citizens.”

He paused.

“Actually, we believe in all the amendments, for example the 28th Amendment, which says the government cannot pass laws onto its citizens that they aren’t subjected to,” he said, hearkening to the ongoing battle over Obamacare. “Kind of like what’s happening in our country right now.”

And Flores took issue with anyone who would form a preconceived notion based solely on the word “militia.”

“Just because you hear that word doesn’t mean it’s bad,” he said. “The members of this group have down-home roots, and that’s something that’s often missing in society today. People helping others in their own community. We try to help the community, and would like to be even more involved.”

The group has been meeting recently at the Mayberry Baptist Church, and have been involved in various service efforts.

“We’re currently working with Rain Ministries and are helping them with their activities, including working on a women’s shelter and home,” Flores said. “We’re in the process of doing some work on the home. In addition, we recently went out and helped fill bags of school supplies for children in the county.

“The bottom line is we’re here now, and would like to do anything we can to help improve the community we all love.”

The group is comprised of people from all walks of life, Flores said.

“We have electric linemen, professionals and contractors,” he said. “Everyone is welcome as long as they have a clean police record.”

The vice president said that despite growing quickly in a short time, they are seeking more members to be able to do more service projects.

“To be a member, you just have to submit to a background check unless you have a concealed weapons permit. If that’s the case, the background check has already been completed,” he said.

Why the background check?

“We don’t want someone involved in the group who has a violent criminal background, because we aren’t going to tolerate someone in our group out there breaking the law,” he said. “We are, and want to continue to be, in good graces with law enforcement.

“We aren’t extremists,” Flores added. “We’ve had some who tried to join and came to a few meetings.

“Let’s just say they aren’t with us today.”

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Reach Keith Strange at or 719-1929.