Panama City woman’s home restored 904 days after Hurricane Michael

Panama City

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Almost two and a half years after Hurricane Michael destroyed homes and devastated the community, a local woman is back in her own home, finally rebuilt after the storm.

Panama City resident Lynette Griggs was welcomed back into her home on Thursday, after it was restored by community groups SBP, Hope Panhandle and others. 904 days ago, Griggs was in Biloxi seeking shelter from the hurricane, when she learned her long-time home had been destroyed by a large pine tree that had fallen on it, also ruining many things inside.

“When my son called and told me the house was gone I cried the whole time,” she said.

Since then, she’s had trouble finding help to get the home restored. On New Year’s Eve, she made a resolution she was sure of. 

“When the new year came in, I told my family, I said ‘I’m going to be at my house when the year comes in because I’m going home this year,” she said.

Griggs slept outside her home that night, determined to find the will and resolve to get her home repaired. Little did she know, hope was not far away.

“There are so many memories in this home, she couldn’t just walk away and let it go back into the earth,” said SBP Executive Director, Pamela Kidwell. 

SBP partners with other community groups to help restore homes in the Panhandle, getting families back in their houses after the storm. They found Griggs through Compass 82, a disaster recovery group in the area, and fell in love with her personality and resolve to get through the difficult time.

“Keep your faith in God and he will provide a person for you to help you,” Griggs said.

SBP sprang into action along with Hope Panhandle and others, gutting the home and restoring it from the inside out. 

“We started production and got her back home as quickly as possible,” Kidwell said.

The work was complete in 57 days, and like Griggs had dreamed at the beginning of the year, she is now back in her home after a “welcome home” ceremony on Thursday.

She said her new house is everything she could have ever imagined and more.

“Now this is what you call a dream home,” she said. “I love it. I’m probably going to stay awake all night looking.”

Kidwell said they’re just happy they could make her dreams a reality.

“It’s the reason why we continue to do what we do,” Kidwell said. “It’s the reason why we stick it out and go through the hard times of trying to find a way to do the next house.”

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