Through the Heart of a Red Crosser: Heartbreaking Devastation from Hurricane Michael

Steve Wise is a volunteer with the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois who is currently deployed to Florida for Hurricane Michael. He only recently had returned from deployment in North Carolina for Hurricane Florence. Steve is now sharing some of his experiences during this Hurricane Michael deployment.

Words and pictures cannot describe the devastation that I have seen this past week.  Never have I ever saw so much destruction on such a large scale.  From homes and businesses – to large cities or small communities – from once was beautiful landscapes to industrial complexes – Hurricane Michael brought its wrath and fury.

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I was part of a team that traveled from shelter to shelter in some of the hardest hit areas of northern Florida.  Since there are so many power outages – traveling on the roads is very time consuming…which forces you to stare at what you see in disbelief.  And wonder how the local residents will go on.

These areas will never be the same for many years to come.  It will force local residents to change their lifestyles – and possibly even what community they live in.  Many residents suffered severe damage to their homes, they won’t have power for the near future, and they are under boil water orders.  Many businesses suffered severe damage as well – that will now prevent them from not only providing services – but jobs for those that once worked there.

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It is common to see police and electrical trucks traveling down the main roadways in caravans with their lights on and sirens blaring – going to areas that need immediate help.  Schools in the hardest hit areas are closed for the foreseeable future and the endless debris causes you to wonder how much manpower will be needed to clean it up and where will it all go.

As the days go on, the damage that Hurricane Michael wrought on northern Florida – will not be in the news as much.  We will stop seeing the pictures or hearing the stories of how these people were so negatively impacted.  For many of us, Hurricane Michael will soon become a distant memory.

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So please take time to remember them…and please pray for them.  Their road to recovery will be long and hard and often to the point where they may feel that they cannot go on.  So, we must do our best to remember them – to be there for them – and to help them in any way possible.

First responders often say that disasters bring out the best in people.  I pray that it brings out the best in us.

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