After Hurricane Irma: First Coast is Hanging in There
I went for my usual run this morning. Running keeps helps me process my thoughts. I ran the same route I always do, except it felt different. The streets were quiet. Some roads were blocked. In some areas I felt like I was running an obstacle course as I avoided a lot of fallen branches. Some areas still had a lot of water. But as I ran I couldn’t help but think how incredibly grateful I am for this day, for my family’s health and safety. We have power and no damage to our home.
However, so many people I know are not doing well. I know a family who had to evacuate via boat yesterday out in Clay County. Other friends are waiting for power and water. My neighbor, a nurse at Memorial Hospital, said they were getting an overflow of patients because one hospital was closed, and another was damaged from the storm. She said the hardest part was being away from her own home and family. She works in labor and delivery and was busy keeping all the mamas and babies well. The first responders in Jacksonville and surrounding areas have done and are doing an incredible job at helping people and putting our city back together. We can see them everywhere working hard.
It will take time to repair what is damaged. Something I notice though that warms my heart is how so many people come together in times like these to help each other. Before the hurricane hit Wicked Barley off Baymeadows Rd. in Jacksonville was giving away free filtered water to anyone who stopped by. They filled up one of my containers. Our neighbors gave us oil for our generator. A friend of mine in Jacksonville provided shelter for a family from Miami who had to evacuate. Your Pie on the Southside & Your Pie in Fleming island is offering free meals to first responders. This kindness is what helps everyone get through a hard time like a natural disaster.
Schools in Duval, St. Johns, and Clay county are closed at least until Wednesday. This is a great opportunity to teach our youth about how to help in times like these. If you are home and able to go out and talk to your neighbors. Ask if they need any help. The best way to recover from this natural disaster is to do it together.