Over 150 volunteers from around the country help rebuild Bay County homes


PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Bay County received a helping hand on Wednesday from volunteers from all over the country.

They worked at around fifteen different locations in Bay County, helping to rebuild homes for Hurricane Michael victims.

“It gives us joy to give back and I wish we could be here when it’s all said and done,” said Emily Bolger, one of the volunteers. “Just to know that we played that little bit of part in this huge project that’s been going on for this long, it doesn’t do anything but bring good, happy feelings.”

Bolger is one of more than 150 volunteers from her company, Grifols Biomat USA, working to do just that. The company teamed up with Fuller Center Disaster Rebuilders and Rebuild Bay County.

She came to help from Los Angeles, but the Panhandle holds a special place in her heart as an FSU alumna.

“As I was driving in over from the beach, just driving through the old areas, it pulls at the heartstrings to see people still struggling,” she said.

Volunteers put down their briefcases and picked paint rollers, taking a break from their company’s leadership summit in Panama City Beach to cross the bridge and help hurricane victims rebuild their homes.

“It’s all about making it happen,” said Santosh Noronha, President of Biomat USA Southeast. “That’s the motto of our team and we hope to make it happen for this family as well, that they can move into their home hopefully very soon.”

The nationwide company has a local office in Panama City, which served as a shelter for local employees and other residents in the community after Hurricane Michael.

On Thursday, representatives from the company “made it happen” in about fifteen different locations across the county, painting walls, clearing debris, and more; all so families can return home.

“We are over a year later and we may not be where we want to be in our recovery, but we are making progress,” said Donna Pilson, the Executive Director for Rebuild Bay County. “There is help that’s here and there’s help on the way.”

Bolger wants residents to know that they aren’t forgotten, even on the other side of the country.

“I think that’s evident by the people that are coming in from around and helping out and pitching in where we can,” she said. “We love you and we’re here to support you as much as we can.”

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