In the wake of Hurricane Michael, 30A residents from all walks of life – it didn’t matter where you came from, how old you were or which political party you aligned yourself with – came together in an overwhelming show of support for neighbors to the east… and that’s exactly what it means to be a 30A local. This is more than just a beautiful area where people can escape to the beach; it’s a community in the truest sense of the word.
Churches, school sports teams and everyday residents banded together in what can only be termed a spirit of service in the aftermath. Several 30A churches are doubling as collection points for supplies, and many members are working around the clock to distribute them to people in need. Other members are heading east with heavy equipment, moving trees and other debris so residents aren’t trapped, and still others are serving up to 18,000 meals a day to victims, volunteers and emergency personnel. Even outside organizations like CrowdSource Rescue stepped in to connect unaccounted for survivors with the resources they need.
And the community has pulled together in other ways, too – including providing welcome diversions. At a high school football game between Mosley High School and Pensacola High School, more than 3,500 locals turned up, not caring which team won or who came from what area. BSN Sports and Sen. George Gainer treated fans to hot dogs and hamburgers, snow cones and drinks, and players and families from both Niceville and Choctaw football programs served players and coaches homemade meals.
“It’s been traumatic, the normalcy of life is no longer normal. Streets I’ve driven hundreds of times don’t look the same … You miss turns and all that. The neat thing has been seeing neighbors helping neighbors. I have overwhelmingly seen folks helping each other,” said Steven Kyle, who’s lived in Lynn Haven for 8 years.
The small fishing town of Wewa, located along the Chipola River 25 miles east of Panama City, was devastated by the storm – most homes had at least some damage, although many of the stores and city buildings were spared.
“People grabbed chainsaws… it wasn’t planned. They all just went to work,” said Charlie Pettis, Wewa City Commissioner. “People with tractors started clearing roads; some people were not even from here.”
Jinks Middle School in Panama City, which has always served as a community hub, suffered severe storm damage that made national news – but by the Sunday after Hurricane Michael swept across the panhandle, classrooms were full of donated food and supplies. Organizers, including the school’s principal Britt Smith and dozens of students and their families, set up shop so people could come and take what they needed. Trial-sized soaps and shampoos, canned food and other necessities, including baby supplies and fresh bread, were brought in by the truckload to help; even Walmart pitched in a semi-truck full of necessary items.
“Whenever I look at the devastation of that gym, I know my students live nearby and see that,” Smith said. “But their homes are the same way. We’re having to rebuild the school, they’re having to rebuild their lives… The opportunity is there to serve and that is what we need to do.”
The hashtags #PanhandleStrong and #30ALocals are connecting residents with resources… and each other. People from all our tiny beach towns, ranging from just outside Destin to Panama City Beach, are pulling together like never before, working to bring back a sense of normalcy for those suffering from the devastation Hurricane Michael caused.
This is what it means to be part of something bigger than ourselves. This is what it means to be part of the 30A community.
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About 30A Local Properties:
30A Local Properties is located in Grayton Beach, FL and services the South Walton community. The team of locals confidently offers the experience of over six hundred South Walton real estate transactions, nearly three decades of banking experience in commercial and residential property holding positions, and over a decade of entrepreneurial real estate experience in property investments and management. Visit our website at www.30alocalproperties.com or stop by our office and meet the team:
30A Local Properties
35 Clayton Lane, Suite B
Grayton Beach, FL 32459
P: (850) 213 3048
F: (850) 213 0035