The Jackson County Floridan’s Oct. 9 edition will contain a special section commemorating the first anniversary of Hurricane Michael.
What’s inside it? A tiny glimpse into the soul of Jackson County and of humankind at large.
The special insert is called “United, We Rise: Hurricane Michael One Year Later”. In its pages you will not find the cool-toned objective narratives that usually dominate a newspaper’s content.
Instead, it is a subjective, often emotional outpouring from the hearts of so many who took precious time to write for this special keepsake edition. We offer our deepest thanks for their participation. They turned in painstaking, compelling work, carrying out just one more volunteer task in a long year of giving.
Along with their words, the section is packed with photos from the storm.
The faith community stepped up to contribute in a big way as storm recovery began.
Readers will find information inside the section about some of their efforts, along with a vivid prayer. Here’s a small excerpt from that contribution by the Rev. Nathan Attwood. The pastor of Marianna’s First United Methodist Church, he’s talking to God when he says: “You pitched your tent among the debris and the sawdust and the heat and the fear. You heard the whirring of generators and the tac-tac-tac of nail guns. You heard the mothers' prayers huddled in hallways holding their babies begging you to spare their lives.” You can read the rest of that prayer inside “United, We Rise”.
Over at Eastside Baptist, two members of the church agreed to provide a summary of things the congregation and other partners there did to help. In their story, you’ll learn how a teenaged girl helped inspire a flurry of handwritten encouragements to people in need. You’ll see how the church turned its parking lot into a base camp for workers who came to help as one utility company reached out to assist another restore lights and more to their thousands of customers who’d lost power in the storm.
You’ll also see how St. James AME stepped up to help, both on its premises as a supply center and in delivering disaster supplies to the doorsteps of roughly 3,000 households where the elderly or otherwise travel-hampered individuals lived.
There many other stories from the faith community inside the section.
Civic organizations also chipped in to help. You’ll find inside an account of the Wright Foundation’s effort to put a roofs over the heads of people who suddenly found themselves without a place to live.
“Thousands of survivors would find themselves lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; losing their primary residence without subsequent housing being identified, or living in conditions not meant for human habitation. In literal terms – they were homeless,” Sharita Wright explained in sharing what her organization did next.
All the county’s municipalities reached out to help their residents and others as the community came together to weather the aftermath of the storm. Jacob shared its story in these pages, providing a model exemplifying how all the small towns of Jackson County did their part.
You can also find a timetable of the storm and the days that followed, a summary provided by Jackson County administration. Charged with handling so many details associated with obtaining recovery dollars from state and federal officials, administration provided an example in the section showing just how complicated and time-consuming that process can be. One paragraph, for instance, lays out all the steps necessary in carrying out a FEMA reimbursement task: That’s an eye-opener.
There’s much, much more inside the section as well. Please pick up an Oct. 9 edition of the Jackson County Floridan to secure your keepsake that proves how, despite a life-altering storm, Jackson County residents continue to strive by joining forces. United, we rise.