Surviving Hurricane Michael: Part Two

 

October 15th – 5 Days after “D-Day” – Search and Rescue ongoing – people still unaccounted for. Communications remain weak, so many across the country have still not heard from loved ones. Makeshift studios are up for local Panama City stations WMBB and WJHG, reporting where to access services, updating the weather, how to contact insurance companies, hour by hour updates.

Cape San Blas, a picturesque barrier island just off Mexico Beach is now three islands:

https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/video/hurricane-michael-creates-new-islands-on-cape-san-blas-florida

Port St. Joe, FL – is a small port town just down from leveled Mexico Beach. Back in the day, it was the hub where timber and turpentine industries pulsed. My husband’s cousin and family in Port St. Joe evacuated to Alabama. His wife’s childhood church came together and supplied a flatbed truck carrying a generator, tarps, chainsaw, food, water, everything they needed, as they wanted to return to secure home. They returned to a hole in the roof but no water damage. Problem: NO law enforcement in Port St. Joe. Bands of looters are going house to house. Next door neighbor was at home when three men walked in. Law enforcement needed.

Wewahitchka, FL in Gulf County – Services are slow to this area. Not waiting for government, an email from our local Episcopal church, Christ The King in Santa Rosa Beach, has partnered with area churches to address this need. They request working flashlights, tarps, and FOOD. So far they have only received MRE’s in Wewa. Church’s plan is to cook mass meals, gather supplies and transport this week. Asking for Publix and Walmart Gift Cards to buy food and volunteers to cook this Wednesday. Hundreds of area churches are mobilized providing food and ministering to the needs of their hard-hit neighbors. It is an amazing thing to witness.

Panama City, FL – We went to Panama City Beach Sunday to help tarp a neighbor’s roof and secure fencing at my in-laws. The massive oaks toppled over like toothpicks were jaw-dropping. Even a large piece of lawn was lifted and left in a hump! My sister in law who is a mobile nurse said most of the nursing staff in Panama City have lost their homes, and their office, but they are determined to make contact with their patients and are out searching. In fact, many who have lost everything are out working. She made it to 15th St. and had to turn around, still not able to get into the hard-hit towns, but they are working on it. Gulf Power is hoping to get power restored in Panama City by Oct. 24th, but with few homes or businesses operational, it will be a limited blessing. Some areas may not get power for months, local officials are being told. Again, power grids gone. Entire towns under rubble. No cell phones or cable at this time.

Tyndall Air Force Base, FL – No housing for their soldiers and families. Hangers in rubble – Massive cleanup in progress.

I ran into CVS in West Panama City Beach and an older man with a shirt that read Louisiana Fire & Rescue was wolfing down a cold drink and chips in the parking lot. I handed him a protein bar from my purse and thanked him for coming while choking back tears. We passed many cars by the roadside out of gas – a pickup from Minnesota filled with water and a generator headed into the war zone, people with gas cans going from Walton County to Panama City, taking fuel to first responders and news trucks. Gas runs out as soon as it gets refilled.

Many, many churches of all faiths are in place cooking, providing essentials like baby formula, diapers, tarps, and moral support. There seems to be a calm in the midst of the wreckage, smiles, greetings, communities and help pouring in from across the country, working with local and federal government, but people not dependent or waiting solely on government.

Georgia also suffered from major destruction of crops totaling over a billion dollars from this hurricane:

https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/video/georgia-fears-1b-in-crop-damage?isSubsequent=true

How can you help?

Please please Donate:

Mercy Chefs from Texas, Carolinas, and other states are mobilized, providing 12-18,000 meals per day are here. Non-profit. Asking for help from area chefs.

https://mercychefs.com/

The American Red Cross – They are still in the Carolinas helping with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence and have moved operations to The Panhandle. Non-profit

https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-michael-donations.html/?cid=fy19hurmichael&med=cpc&source=google&scode=rsg00000e017&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIjdrnjeCJ3gIVgx-GCh0PWwJVEAAYASAAEgKfyvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CLTuv5Hgid4CFVZmwQodz4sBaA

The Salvation Army – They are on the scene in the Florida Panhandle and need your help. Non-profit

https://salvationarmyflorida.org/tallahassee/

Don’t forget the animals: Alaqua Animal Refuge in Freeport, FL in Walton County, a non-profit no-kill animal facility quickly evacuated and fostered out over 300 animals, including horses and pigs, prior to the storm:

https://www.nwfdailynews.com/article/20181012/NEWS/181019572

If you would like to donate to this large, all-volunteer animal shelter, here is the info:

https://www.alaqua.org/

Governor Rick Scott, local officials, and news people have done an outstanding job.

Final thoughts: The Florida Panhandle is a conservative part of the state, wearing the label “The Bible Belt” with pride. A fleeting thought crossed my mind – how will they vote, as I received my paper ballot in the mail yesterday for the mid-terms? When there are no schools, no hospitals, no facilities, it strikes me as a very low priority, as important as the upcoming election is.

What I am certain is no one cares a hill of beans about what Melania is wearing (she and President Trump were here in Lynn Haven), no one cares about Alex Baldwin’s new show, or about Elizabeth Warren’s DNA, or the rants by Antifa in Portland, or the witches of Brooklyn trying to conjur a hex on Justice Kavanaugh. In fact, so many headlines look incredibly foolish to me right now. What I do know without a shadow of a doubt is that God’s mercy is visibly pouring out in the midst of mayhem. There is no amount of hate, or hex, or horrible disaster that can break the will of His people or the American spirit.

There are 12 comments.

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  1. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher
    Goldwaterwoman
    @goldwaterwoman

    Thank you for reminding us of what is truly important in life. Bless you @frontseatcat. 

    • #1
  2. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    Thank you for reminding us of what is truly important in life. Bless you @frontseatcat.

    Thank you – I’ll take all the blessings I can get!

    • #2
  3. danys Thatcher
    danys
    @danys

    Thank you FSC for the donation links. I’ll check them out. Keep the faith. I’m praying for all of you.

    • #3
  4. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Thanks for the links. I made a donation to Mercy Chefs for now, and will probably make a donation through one of our church organizations as well. Will discuss it with Mrs R tomorrow.

    • #4
  5. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Prayers for now, dear FSC, material support as able – soon…

    • #5
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Prayers continually, FSC. Hang in there, and thank you for taking the time to update us. Our hearts are with you.

    • #6
  7. Jim George Member
    Jim George
    @JimGeorge

    @frontseatcat, our prayers are with you and yours at this terrible time; I have a special reason for wanting to help in any way I can, as we have recently moved from Baton Rouge to a new home down the road from you, in Gulf Breeze, which, as God willed it, was almost completely spared any major hit from the storm. It is for this reason that I would appreciate very much your advising whether it would help for me to drive a couple of hours and help out in any way I can, or bring any particular supplies over to you and those with you. My church, Christ Church Pensacola, is putting together some supplies to go over and try to do what they can by way of repairs to one of your Episcopal Churches there in Panama City, but it occurred to me that I could be more help by offering to an acquaintance like yourself with something specific. 

    Please le me know what I can do.

    Sincerely, Jim

     

    • #7
  8. Barkha Herman Inactive
    Barkha Herman
    @BarkhaHerman

    Donated.  Also, my son is out there volunteering.  Please reach out if there is anything else we can do.

    • #8
  9. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Jim George (View Comment):

    @frontseatcat, our prayers are with you and yours at this terrible time; I have a special reason for wanting to help in any way I can, as we have recently moved from Baton Rouge to a new home down the road from you, in Gulf Breeze, which, as God willed it, was almost completely spared any major hit from the storm. It is for this reason that I would appreciate very much your advising whether it would help for me to drive a couple of hours and help out in any way I can, or bring any particular supplies over to you and those with you. My church, Christ Church Pensacola, is putting together some supplies to go over and try to do what they can by way of repairs to one of your Episcopal Churches there in Panama City, but it occurred to me that I could be more help by offering to an acquaintance like yourself with something specific.

    Please le me know what I can do.

    Sincerely, Jim

    Thank you Jim – we and our immediate family are ok – our area in Walton County did not suffer as we were on the “good side” of the hurricane.  Your best bet is to donate to one of the services above or your church – they have the best resources right now. 

     

    • #9
  10. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    I just ran up to deliver supplies etc. to a church and ran into Publix. People were stocking up as well, and it looked like doing the same as I was, buying baby diapers, baby wipes, plastic gloves, batteries, etc. to deliver wherever their designated spot was.  Boy are diapers expensive!  I heard one kid say his church cooked over a thousand hamburgers yesterday.  The kitchen at the church I delivered to were putting together meals – an assembly line.  There are curfews so they have to get in and out of these hard hit areas.

    On the radio in the car they said a pharmacy was opening in Port St. Joe to dispense meds refills at no charge and over the counter stuff.  Scott’s cousin is a pharmacist so it’s probably him – In other hard hit areas, people were calling in that there’s a hardware store opening here, a grocery store there – no power, but you can get what you need – a new distribution center here – a good sign!  

    • #10
  11. Old Buckeye Inactive
    Old Buckeye
    @OldBuckeye

    FSC, thank you for giving us good info on who’s making an impact with the recovery. 

    • #11
  12. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    I’m fascinated by the frequency in your reports that the churches seem to be the front line work – the groups that can get people together to do something useful.

    • #12
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