PANAMA CITY, Fla.– It’s a celebration of new beginnings.
Regions Bank on 23rd street reopened its doors on Wednesday after months of rebuilding.
“It’s a great day for us in that we went through a major disaster as did all of our neighbors in the community,” said Panama City Market Executive for Regions Bank, Steven Aase. “We took that opportunity to not only reinvest in our facilities but to make them better.”
Now that the bank is rebuilt, they’re giving back; donating $20 thousand to the United Way of Northwest Florida. These funds will help to support education, health, and income needs across Bay County.
“One hundred percent of the money we’ve taken into the Hurricane Michael relief fund is distributed back out into the community,” said President and C.E.O. of United Way Northwest Florida, Bryan Taylor. “We do not remove any expenses or remove any fees from those monies that come in.”
Along with the festivities and donations, another celebration took place; a brand-new American flag being raised in the place of another.
Army SFC Joseph Wyczenski found the old flag on the ground during the storm. He picked it up and kept it safe for weeks until he finally got the chance to return it to the bank.
“It flew in my neighborhood but it wasn’t mine, it wasn’t my neighborhood’s – we were borrowing it,” said Wyczenski. “I was just returning it to the owner, I wanted Regions Bank to have it back.”
He just happened to return it on the final day of the bank’s reconstruction.
“They were happy to get it back,” he said. “It felt good to return it to them.”
While the new flag stands outside as a symbol of hope, the old one will remain inside on display as a reminder of strength and community.