PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) —  Bay County is more prepared than ever to face adversity. 

Much of this is due to the recovery and resilience work done by Rebuild Bay.

Saturday, residents and city officials came together to celebrate the organization’s success. 

In the days after Hurricane Michael, thousands of state and federal aid workers flooded Bay County.

“The leaders knew that we wouldn’t that the recovery would take a while and knew that we needed to have a local presence for long-term recovery,” Rebuild Bay Director Donna Pilson said. “And so that’s why the county was founded.” 

Over the past five years, Rebuild Bay Inc. has helped thousands of residents.

“We knew that there would be people who we already were aware that there were people whose may needs were not being, that they were not on anybody’s radar,” Executive Director of the Lead Coalition of Bay County Janice Lucas said. 

Six years after the hurricane Rebuild Bay continues to help residents rebuild

“Just since last October, we were able to complete 33 home repairs,” Pilson said. “And these are individuals or households that were still impacted by Hurricane Michael.”

The organization’s work has extended far beyond hurricane recovery. 

“In the months and years that have followed, we have had an emergency declaration after emergency declaration,” Lucas said. “After emergency declaration. And so we know that as a long-term disaster recovery organization, it is our job to be ready to respond, whatever the matter may be.”

Pilson said Rebuild Bay will continue to serve the community as long as they can.

“We’ll be here as long as it takes,” Pilson said. “As long as we are properly resourced after typically a long-term recovery organization will stand up and then it will ramp down as soon as the funds are out because of COVID. And we’ve had Hurricane Sally, we’ve had wildfires. Our capabilities have expanded over the last four over the last four years. And so it’s so we’ve been able to apply for different types of grant funds to keep us going in more of a community resilience role.”

Click here for more information on Rebuild Bay Inc.