Kelly and her four children had just moved to an area where they finally felt safe. Then the hurricane came. Now they are ready to put the key in the door to a new home.
Volunteer work in Panama City
John Edwards is on site in Panama City to literally put his hands in the dirt. He is one of the volunteers that is contributing to home builds after Hurricane Michael.
Since the hurricane, thousands of families are still without real homes and are forced to live in temporary housing or with friends and relatives. The need for volunteers is, to put it short, still high.
One of the volunteers in Panama City is John Edwards, Sales Manager from Cowin Equipment, a Volvo CE dealer in North America. Being a citizen of Florida himself, he can easily relate to what needs to be done.
“In the area I live in, we’ve actually gone through two hurricanes that have hit directly. But it was not on the same scale as Hurricane Michael, not at all,” he tells.
The news coverage right after the hurricane made a lot of people, including volunteers, come to the affected areas to lend a hand. However, it didn’t last long.
“Right after the hurricane, it felt like everybody came in to help. That lasted a few months and then everybody went back to their normal lives. But the people’s lives here still were not normal. And they still aren’t normal. People do feel forgotten,” says John.
To put it short, volunteer work is more important than ever, even almost two years after the hurricane.
“Thank goodness that Habitat for Humanity and other groups are coming in, doing a lot of clean-up, rebuilding a lot of houses. But they are also rebuilding lives. And that is the important part,” says John.
The actual work on site consists of really getting your hands dirty, something that John doesn’t have a problem with.
“It has been great so far. I have been helping build walls and set walls and set the sheeting in place. I mean, we can’t change what happened when Hurricane Michael came in, but what we can do is to help people get a fresh start. The community itself also has a special spark. Perhaps it is the southern mentality of always sticking together and helping each other. I think that has contributed a lot,” he concludes.
A steady 43 years in the same area; until hurricanes Irma and Michael paid a visit. Karen and her mother Irene can now look forward to moving into that same neighborhood again.