Catastrophe brings out the best in people

Jessica Gunn


We’ve all seen post-apocalyptic shows like “The Walking Dead,” but imagine living that in real life. 

While driving down Highway 22 in Callaway, Florida, this past weekend, I felt like I had walked onto the set of a television show.  

The devastation is hard to describe in words; there are cellphone towers made with “unbendable steel” that look like corkscrews on a rollercoaster. 

Entire roads are covered so deeply in sand that if you didn’t know it was a road, you’d think you were at a beach with no water.

I grew up in Niceville, Florida, 95 miles from where the eye of Hurricane Michael hit. My childhood home was not destroyed, but many people had theirs demolished to the point of being unrecognizable. 

Roofs and walls were pulled off people’s houses like they were just dollhouses.

There are looters looking to snag anything they can find, but there is also an incredible amount of community being created. Neighbors and out-of-towners are helping one another with the most basic needs.

Even with so much lost in this devastation, most people are remaining joyful. At St. Dominic Catholic Church in Panama City, Florida, I saw people singing and children playing. 

A wedding originally scheduled to take place in the church’s main sanctuary took place in the outside grotto where a priest had been practicing Mass daily with standing room only.

The church was serving food at no charge, not only for the linemen working to restore power in the city but also to anybody who came asking for a meal. 

This storm has left an enormous amount of tragedy, but it’s also helped to remind all of us to help one another. 

Going to cut down trees, bringing water and other basic supplies and simply being a friendly face while helping others is how we are rebuilding our community from the devastation of Hurricane Michael.

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