PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Rutherford High School assistant principal Phillip Campbell was the only site-based administrator when the school served as a shelter for around 1,100 people during Hurricane Michael.
“Every hallway was full with folks, it really was quite intense,” Campbell said. “We had people running in, parking out in front of the school and just running into the building and us just putting them anywhere and everywhere we could.”
Campbell saw the roof come off of the school’s media center and they had to evacuate the downstairs of that building. At one point, he tried to get out of the center but was blown back inside.
“It was almost surreal, like a video game,” Campbell said. “At one point you think this could be it, this could be the end of my life. I actually have a video that I did of myself saying goodbye to folks that I haven’t looked at.”
He says he will never take a hurricane lightly again and the memories of his experience during the storm still live in his mind daily.
“You think about tornadoes a lot more now because to me that category 5 was like a giant tornado that just never stopped.”