PORT ST JOE Fla. (WMBB) — This morning runners from near and far gathered in Port St. Joe not just for a race, but to reflect on the anniversary of Hurricane Michael.
Each runner participating in the 50 for FL race shares a common goal – to give back. David Millican is the founder of 50 for FL. He said after he saw the devastation Hurricane Michael caused in Port St. Joe, giving back is exactly what he wanted to do.
“I worked for about 10-12 days and I just couldn’t get it off my mind when I got back to Atlanta,” said Millican. “So I knew there was a long term recovery just like it was in any hurricane.”
This year over 100 runners participated in 50 for FL race. Millican said last year they raised 96 thousand dollars and they are hoping to exceed that this year. All of the funds go directly toward recovery in Gulf County.
“It’s really the community coming together and then even folks who just come down here to vacation,” said Millican
One of the larger groups participating was the Port St. Joe High School cross country team. Two years ago, Hurricane Michael ended their season, and Coach Kieon Mcnair said it was hard for all the students but that loss made them stronger.
“It brought all of them together and made them want to work even harder because they remember the time the hurricane came and took the season away,” said Mcnair. “It took more than just the season away, it took a lot of peoples houses and things.”
Volunteers from the community came to help out at the event and runners came from near and far, each person was racing for a different reason. Community coordinator for the race Jera Horton said it is important that we come together to give the community the support they need.
“We just want to keep raising awareness for our community and all the blue tarps that are here two years later and all the support the community still needs,” said Horton.
As each racer crossed the finish line, you could see the smiles on their faces. Although you can still see evidence of damage from the storm, Mayor Rex Buzzett said it’s events like these that show the resilience of the community.
“Look at this, it just shows that our people are strong,” said Buzzett. “We’re st. Joe strong.”