Volunteers help locals rebuild their homes during 24-hour commemoration event

News

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — With paint brushes, power tools, hard hats and shovels, a group of volunteers is uncovering tough memories from October 10th, 2018.

“The whole roof started flooding and water started coming everywhere,” said Caprice Cobb, a Panama City resident who lost his family home during Hurricane Michael.

This happened after a different loss; only three months prior, Cobb lost the grandfather he took care of in that home.

“I have times I’ve been wanting to give up, didn’t know where I was coming or going,” he said. “I mean, not having a home, going from pillar to post, sleeping on a couch. It’s been hard.”

However, the project the volunteers began on Wednesday, October 9th, is about starting new; they are working to finally rebuild Cobb’s home, as well as another resident who lost their house in the storm.

“I’m lost for words, really,” said Cobb, smiling from ear to ear.

These volunteers have come from all over the country, representing companies like At&T and Farmer’s Insurance as well as high school students to take on the 24-hour challenge to rebuild the homes, commemorating the 24 hours that changed residents’ lives.

“Seeing the devastation really sparked us to realize we need to find a way to help and give back, thus which sparked the build in August and the coming back here in October and being able to do this build,” said Ray Walker, a volunteer from AT&T.

The rebuild was organized by Hope Panhandle and SBP. Tools were provided by ToolBank Disaster Services, an organization which provides tools for volunteers to borrow during rebuild events such as this.

“[We’re] texturing and painting the walls, and then from there we’ll be putting down the flooring, maybe some trim around the windows and doors,” said Walker.

As they work, they build over the old memories of destruction to create a reminder of hope. 

“I’m happy, I’m excited, I’m blessed,” said Cobb. “I mean, it’ll be bringing me back to our family grounds, our family roots.”

“To see his face, just the joy and appreciation, that’s why we’re here,” said That really sums it all up.”

It’s a new beginning and new year after Michael; for residents like Cobb and the volunteers that donate their time to help, the recovery continues one day at a time. 

For more information on how to get help from SBP or volunteer for the organization yourself, click here.

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