Danger gone, now focus turns to aid

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 12, 2018

Many people in the Florida panhandle will spend the rest of this week sorting through rubble, trying to find any remnant of normal, everyday life. Unfortunately, millions of people were in the path of Hurricane Michael, the strongest storm on record to ever hit that portion of the Sunshine State.

If you’re like us, you spent Thursday starring at the images of destruction on television, thanking your lucky stars that the worst of the storm avoided Chambers County and Troup County. And like many, you probably wanted to figure out a way to help those who need it most right now.

Chances are, you’ve spent time on the gulf coast at some point. Let’s face it, just about everyone in Alabama and Georgia loves a good beach trip every now and then, and a drive to the gulf is usually faster than the long trek across the state to head to the Atlantic.

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Many of those familiar beaches – Mexico Beach and Panama City Beach among them — are now unrecognizable. Homes and roads are destroyed and debris is everywhere.

If you want to help, there are many ways to do so. The American Red Cross is taking donations on its website, and knowing Chambers County, as well as Troup County, local relief efforts will be quickly organized to give back to Florida families that really need the help.

That’s what happened last year when Hurricane Harvey dumped buckets of rain on Texas, prompting flooding and destruction in the Lone Star State. It’s what’s happened when other hurricanes came through as well, including Irma, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened up Holiday Campground only to find out the storm was heading our way.

We urge anyone with the means to give to help out in some way. We also hope you’ll talk to your family, make a plan and be ready for when severe weather strikes. Hurricane Michael is a reminder that when Mother Nature releases her fury, even the strongest infrastructure may fail. Make a plan and be ready and use it if you ever need to.

Chambers County and the Greater Valley Area avoided the brunt of this storm, unlike storms of the past, which is fortunate. Now that the danger has passed, however, it is time to begin focusing on how we may be able to help those who were not so fortunate, we know what that is like.