HURRICANE MICHAEL ONE YEAR LATER
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow may never be, so I am focused on today.”
Annie-Jean, 67, was born and raised in Panama City. The only time she spent elsewhere was a short stint working for Job Corps in New Jersey. The rest of her career was spent as a nurse in Panama City, where she raised three kids. Her oldest son is a veteran who served during the Persian Gulf War and now works for the VA. Her second son has a daughter who just entered Gulf College, while her only daughter has two children of her own. Tragically, her first husband – and her children’s father – was killed at the hands of a drug addict who spent 18 years in prison for the crime (Annie-Jean lets it be known that she has forgiven her husband’s murderer and still prays for him). She recently married a construction worker. She was living her best life – until Hurricane Michael struck.
On October 10, 2018, Annie-Jean was in Pensacola taking care of her nursing home residents. When she returned to survey the damage, she was overwhelmed by the devastation – and yet she felt fortunate that her home was still standing. A number of friends and acquaintances had been left homeless and were now praying for a FEMA trailer. She and her husband, however, were able to live out of a portion of their home despite the damaged roof and interior water damage.
Annie-Jean was put in touch with The Sonder Project through a friend of hers we had served. We cleared some debris and attached a tarp to Annie-Jean’s roof before replacing it a few months later. But much like so many other homes in Panama City, the work is far from complete. Annie-Jean still hopes to be able to replace the drywall in her den. She had purchased a stove from Sears before the storm and had it on layaway. Sadly, the store closed shortly after the hurricane and she was never able to claim it.
In the meantime, Annie-Jean isn’t waiting for a hand-out. At the time of our interview, she had just finished getting all the water-damaged tile up from her floor. She plans to continue doing whatever she can to recover.
“Yesterday is gone,” she says. “Tomorrow may never be, so I am focused on today.”
Like so many people in Panama City and beyond, Annie-Jean perseveres. A little help, however, will go a long way. With this in mind, please consider making a donation to our Anniversary Campaign so we can continue to support people like Annie-Jean.
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