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Helping Hands flood Florida

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Helping Hands flood Florida

Yellow. The color shines bright as volunteers from the Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints offered their hands and their weekend for those devastated by hurricane Michael.

Yellow. The color shines bright as volunteers from the Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints offered their hands and their weekend for those devastated by hurricane Michael.

Lily Hansen

Yellow. The color shines bright as volunteers from the Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints offered their hands and their weekend for those devastated by hurricane Michael.

Lily Hansen

Lily Hansen

Yellow. The color shines bright as volunteers from the Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints offered their hands and their weekend for those devastated by hurricane Michael.

Sierra Wamsley, Associate Editor

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Destruction. As far as the eye can see, trees are down, houses are thrown across the street. Through it all, communities unite, lifting each other up after the category 4 hurricane whipped across the Panhandle.

Sierra Wamsley

“The destruction was insane,” freshman Samuel Davidson explained. “It looked like a tornado had blown through leaving the majority of the trees down, crashed on many homes. We removed many of the trees that had fallen on homes as well as we took out furniture, mucking the house”.

Within the week, first responders began tearing through debris, trying to help rebuild the now destroyed cities. Some of these first responders were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a Christian church that often sends hundreds of youths and adults alike to serve.

The weekend of the natural disaster, they were helping in Wilmingham, North Carolina where hurricane Florence touched down. They immediately knew that they would be continuing their good work and service in Florida. Only a week later they are staring out the window of trucks filled to the brim with supplies. Their jaws dropped as they silently stared at miles upon miles of snapped trees, telephone wires and jolted foundations of what used to be homes littering the streets.

Sierra Wamsley

Various trucks were filled to the brim with supplies to help return devastated homes to hopeful families.

As they prepared for the voyage down to the devastation left behind by the 3rd biggest hurricane, they knew it would be nothing like any other relief trip attended before. Unknown to all was the extreme amount of fallen and bent trees and roofs “leaking like Niagara Falls” (one man explained as the roof of his home was tarped).

 

[It was] breathtaking. You could see the aftermath of the storm as far as 3 hours outside of the coast.”

— Senior Braxton Beal

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helping in Florida was one opportunity many never thought twice about. We as a state were not severely affected by Hurricane Michael. We have access to food, gas, and the comfort of our own homes. In Panama City, Florida, piles upon piles of carpets thrashed from homes, large oak trees carefully sawed into pieces no larger than six feet lay littering the street. Lending a helping hand even as small as fifteen homes in two days time made a big difference to fifteen families’ lives and put a dent in the city development, restoring it back to what it looked like before the storm.

Ryan Wamsley

Cloudy skies. As volunteers work hard on a home belonging to an elderly man and his disables wife, the skies grow heavy over head. Much work is done with debris pushed to the side of the road for trucks to pick up once a week.

Various others, also a part of the church, dropped their plans, sacrificed their weekends, and joined the church’s efforts in Florida. Excerpts from interviews are below.

Sierra Wamsley

Sierra Wamsley
Junior Lily Hansen shares her story having gone to the Panama City, Florida hurricane relief event.

Why did you participate in Florida/ North Carolina cleanup?

“I participated in the hurricane cleanup because I have become so accustomed to our cushy world where everything seems to go for granted. When I go to cleanups it reminds me of how fortunate I am and how blessed we all are.”

What was your favorite part?

“My favorite part is getting to talk with the people we served- they are always so thankful and it puts it all into perspective.”

Describe the destruction you saw.

“The destruction I saw was truly a shocker; it looked like something you would see in a movie. Buildings were ripped apart and street signs were flat to the ground. It was like something I had never seen before.”

How did it make you feel after helping the many people in the city?

“After seeing the progress and the help we made for each home it really was heartwarming. I may not have made a lifetime of the difference to all of Florida but I made a difference to the families I did help.”

What was your reaction when first seeing all the destruction?

“My reaction was very stilled- It got me thinking a lot about life and how grateful I am to have avoided the hurricane. It was truly a culture shock.”

 

Sierra Wamsley

Sierra Wamsley
Sophomore Taft Hilton explains the destruction seen in Panama City, Florida after hurricane Michael.

Why did you participate in Florida/ North Carolina cleanup?

“I knew that people needed help and that God wanted me there. Seeing how the people we helped felt when we were done.”

Since you participated in the hurricane relief from both Florence and Michael, what was a big difference?

“North Carolina was nothing compared to Florida. North Carolina would have a tree or two in the yard, whereas Florida we’d be able to stay at one house and probably be able to work all day. I felt that I was where I was supposed to be.”

What was your reaction when first seeing all the destruction?

“I kinda just threw myself into the work when I first saw it. We had to bring our own food and gas beforehand because of all the destruction. The damage was unlike anything I’d seen this time around. I will go anytime I am needed to help people in need. I recommend anyone with a willing heart to come down and try serving these people.”

 

Sierra Wamsley
Sophomore Brinley Bramwell shares her story of helping with hurricane Florence.

Why did you participate in Florida/ North Carolina cleanup?

“I participated because I love the opportunity to serve people and it makes me so much more grateful for what I have. I enjoyed serving those who lost pretty much everything they had.”

What was your favorite part?

“My favorite part is being able to meet new people and help them. So many lost so much in this storm and it great being able to get to know them and do what I can to serve them.”

Describe the destruction you saw.

“There was tons of destruction and devastation. Countless houses had trees fall on their roof and hang into the house. There was debris that covered the ground. Everyone fenced have completely fallen down or blown away. Trees blocked so many paths some people could not even get into there backyards. In some houses, the roofs of walls had completely blown away you could look right through the house and see the sky.”

How did it make you feel after helping the many people in the city?

“It made me feel really good that I could be a hand in helping them. It makes me so sad to see what these people have had to go through but happy that I could serve them through this terrible time. I appreciated the opportunity to see and help clear destruction as a first responder.”

What was your reaction when first seeing all the destruction?

“The destruction was far worse than I could have ever imagined. I was so terrified and sad that a storm could cause such huge devastation.”

 

There is still much to do to help those who are suffering from the effects of the natural disaster. The church is once again asked to serve those in Florida November 16th-18th and for many weekends to come.

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About the Contributor
Sierra Wamsley, Associate Editor

Sierra Wamsley is a junior at South Forsyth High School. She is beyond thrilled for her third year year on The Bird Feed staff. When she is not working hard on her school studies, you can find Sierra splashing in the pool or writing a new story. She will be continuing on the South Forsyth Swim and Dive Team for the third year in October. Whenever you run into her, she’ll always have a big smile on her face and a positive attitude. Sierra spends the majority of her free time engaged in music whether...

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