Hancock Whitney celebrates groundbreaking in a special way

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. — It’s a special day for Brenda Parker.

“I will never, ever forget it,” she said.

She manages Hancock Whitney Bank on 23rd Street, and nine months ago, the hurricane ravaged the building, reducing it to a shell.

“It was overwhelming,” she said. “You just wanted to break down and cry.”

Shannon Odom remembers her emotions as well.

“It was heartbreaking,” said Odom. “To pull in and for it to be the devastation that it was, very heartbreaking.”

But on Wednesday, she celebrated the groundbreaking of their new building with Brenda and dozens of others; but there’s a twist.

It’s usually against the rules to draw on the walls with permanent marker, but today, that rule was broken for a very special reason; to allow guests to leave their handprint on one of the last remaining structures from the old building.

“The vault is the only part of the building that stood,” said Parker.

It will continue to stand inside the new building with everyone’s handprint as a reminder.

“Just putting my hand there knowing that vault is still standing after all of that, it’s just amazing,” said Parker.

“Knowing that you’re putting your impression and leaving it on such a significant area that’s going to remain here is just an overwhelming feeling,” said Odom.

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