Hurricane ravaged parts of Florida are NOT forgotten.

Hurricane Michael survivors are NOT forgotten.  There are countless stories of volunteers doing what they can to help the area recover.  


Biloxi relief groups making progress in Port St. Joe

"So, dark had fallen before we arrived in Port St. Joe, Fla., and as we're driving an old, familiar scent rudely burrowed its way through. As I did my best to ignore it, I began to feel walls closing in as we traveled further on. Eerie but all too familiar sights began to creep in along the edges, even as the darkness did its best to conceal it. Suddenly, I felt water slowly ebbing down my cheeks as it began to leak from my eyes. I felt a tightening in my chest, a darkness in my heart. I had been here before. A different time, a different place, but my soul has been in this moment. I promise you, the stories are not exaggerated, it IS that bad. Please, no matter how you choose to help, just do it!"

—Biloxi volunteer Nancy Boney, on arriving Friday in Michael-devastated Port St. Joe

Teams of Biloxi firefighters and volunteers in the small Florida community of Port St. Joe are making an impact since their arrival Friday. The waterfront town of 3,600 was devastated by Hurricane Michael back on Oct. 10, and the cleanup continues.

"We have already done a lot," Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney said this morning. "We've cleared six houses so far by working mostly on debris removal of trees from roofs and yards.

"We started out by helping firefighters and other first responders, but now we are helping everyone, focusing on the most vulnerable. We have helped a veteran and some of the elder residents."

On Friday, nearly a dozen volunteers from the Biloxi Fire Department, West End Hose Co. No. 3 and Keesler Air Force Base traveled from Biloxi to Port St. Joe to team up with the New Sharon (Iowa) Volunteer Fire Department for the weeklong relief effort. On Saturday, six more firefighters joined the team and will return to Biloxi this evening. Also today, another group of six will head out and return on Wednesday and the last group will leave on Thursday and stay until Friday.

It's the largest relief effort by the Biloxi volunteers, who have worked in disaster zones across the country.

"We have had great support," Boney said. "Later this week, we will be joined by volunteers from Tyndall and Eglin Air Force Base. Then when the rain comes in, we will gut four or five homes."

Boney said that the community has also showed overwhelming support for their efforts.

 Said the fire chief: "The other day, we had a young lady stop us in the middle of the yard because she saw the Biloxi trucks. Her mother lives in Hattiesburg and she wanted to thank us. That was pretty neat."

(Source:  City of Biloxi)


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