The Value of A Cold Beer : A Hurricane Michael Story

Living in a community who has suffered a natural disaster is a surreal experience. Everything you used to count on is gone. No homes, minimal service, no electricity, water, etc… Most of us in the US has very limited experience with living in a community that has suffered such devastation. My family and I were lucky enough on October 9th, 2018 to have the ability to leave town and have next to no damage to our home during hurricane Michael. However this hasn’t been the case for MANY people. Here is how one small community has come together and the importance of a cold beer.

Hurricane Previewing – The hurricane developed quickly and we had little time to prepare. I was made aware of the situation by following a friend of mine and Meteorologist Mom online. By Wednesday the hurricane made landfall. It is the third strongest hurricane to hit the coast of the US. My family and I were unsure if we were going to evacuate. But by Tuesday it was clear that the storm was getting stronger and we needed to leave in order to ensure our safety. Our children are young, our yard is full of trees, and so is our road. There was a strong chance we would not be able to get out if needed.

Hurricane in Tallahassee – We are incredibly lucky with the path the hurricane took when it made landfall. Although many people lost homes, power, and trees – the city as a whole faired really well. The Mayor of Tallahassee, Andrew Gillum, did an amazing job keeping us informed on the progress, helping in the community and having a majority of the city up and running by Sunday (four days after the hurricane). Not to mention, School Superintendent Rocky Hanna, who also was out in the community helping and was able to get the schools in full working order by Monday as well. Here are some of the numbers for what Tallahassee was able to accomplish in the aftermath.

Cold Beer – My eighty-year old next door neighbors were unfortunately not as lucky. After the hurricane passed they called us to inform us on the damage to our home. We were lucky enough to only lose one tree and power for 5 days. Our neighbors, however, did not fair so well. They had a 100ft pine tree come down on their home that crushed the house to its foundation. They also had another dozen trees strewn about their property and no power for a very extended period of time. They were in shock of all the damage and since they have no children, the onus was on them to get all of the repairs done.

When we returned home I was shocked at the damage. The entire wall and roof to their study was obliterated, yard covered in trees, no power, and they were still living in the home. My family and I spent the day cleaning up our property. At the end of the day, I ran to the grocery store to get some cold beer (our area was one of the last to have power restored). The grocery store was a madhouse of people for whom power had been restored restocking their fridge, and people like me who were getting ice and essentials to survive another evening. The store was out of many items – but I was thankful to find some cold beer.

When I returned home, Drew (my husband) had informed me he had talked to the neighbors and offered our help. Mrs. Neighbor responded that maybe a glass of wine once in awhile would be nice. Well I went straight to my wine cabinet and grabbed a bottle of red, three beers, and a glass of ice and walked it over to them. When I handed them off to her she called me an “Angel Lady”  and accepted them with tears in her eyes. It was such a small gesture – and honestly I felt it was pretty small and stupid compared to the enormous trouble they were dealing with in their home.

Later I received a thank you note from them with some home-cooked pumpkin bread as a thank you. Apparently we have become the talk of their church for our small gesture. I never thought that these few drinks would create such a ruckus. But apparently they were much needed and a an important gesture for them to have on that particular night. Who knew the power of a cold one?

Hurricane in the Forgotten Coast – The total destruction of some cities on the Forgotten Coast of Florida’s Panhandle has been absolute. People left their homes to return to a flooded home, ruble, or even just a pile of sand. There will be weeks and months of recovery. It really is total destruction. Check out this video below of some of the destruction from hurricane Michael in Florida.

Community Coming Together – The abundance of efforts and helping occurring in the Panhandle has been wonderful. Verizon offered three months free for counties who suffered damage from the hurricane. FEMA has been offering their services along with countless other organizations. Not to mention all the people in Tallahassee who have donated time and their efforts. In fact, a friend of mine helped organize a warm feel for the town of Port St. Joe which included 600ish tacos and 400ish breakfast plates the next morning. Seeing everyone from within and outside the region come together has been a truly empowering experience.

From the smallest of gestures like a cold beer to the grandest of gestures like serving a meal to an entire town – we all have taken a moment to help others in need. I am so thankful that our community was able to take up their hands, put away differences, and get down to rebuilding. This is the first time I feel like I have had a truly immersive experience of a natural disaster – and it has been so moving. It has reinforced my faith for humanity and our ability to improve in the future. So next time you feel that you can not help with someone who is suffering – think again. Even the smallest of gestures can have a grand impact.

Lauren Cop is a part-time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she teaches at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

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