One Year Later: FL Panhandle continues to recover from Hurricane Michael

National News

SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – Communities in the Southeast remembering Hurricane Michael one year after the category five storm roared through the Florida panhandle, Alabama and Georgia.

There are still people in the Florida panhandle who need help, but there are community organizations stepping up to fill the gap.

Pastor Marty Martin of Panama City’s Northstar Church organized distribution, not only for his congregation, but coordinated efforts with a number of others. 

“”I was contacted by a whole bunch of different organizations from around the entire country asking how they could help and be a part and so we just immediately set up at all of our different campuses and began what we call distribution,” explained Martin.

Many national agencies also lent a helping hand. Agencies, like Mercy Chefs were shocked by the amount of devastation. 

“Mercy Chefs has done over 120 disaster responses in our 13 years in over 27 states and 7 foreign countries,” said Gary LaBlanc, Mercy Chefs President, “And in all that time, every disaster I’ve seen, I’ve not seen something worse than what Michael was.”

A year after the storm, Mercy Chefs and local churches remain in the area providing help in any way they can. 

The storm snapped trees in half, flipped train cars and leveled homes. 

Many in the area will mark Thursday with remembrance ceremonies. One group is working to help the community restore some of what’s lost.

The University of Florida IFAS extension of Bay County gave away a hundred trees so locals can bring back the green. 

Those who live in the area say replanting is not only a way to revitalize the community but also a sign of better days ahead. 

Event organizers say they’ll partner with the Florida Forest Service to give out more trees for Arbor day in January.

Thursday Re-tree P-C hopes to distribute 500 trees for replanting. 

Students and teachers at Bay High School in Panama City will hold a remembrance day with a tree planting.

WSAV producer Enocha Edenfield spoke on WSAV News 3’s Today Thursday about her coverage of the hurricane’s destruction to Florida panhandle. Edenfield has close ties to the panhandle. She is from Panama City.

Last year Edenfield traveled with WSAV News 3 reporter Shaynah Ferreira to cover the destruction and the recovery. That experience was a very emotional one.

“Nothing can prepare you for this,” says Edenfield.

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