My fondest childhood memories of my hometown are of what was a sweet, quaint downtown area. I was right there the week before Michael struck, taking a moment to sip a margarita at “The Place” before turning in my rental car, reflecting on everything my parents and I had been through together in September.
It was a frightening month of surgery and complications for my 79 year-old mom. We finally got her home from the hospital exactly a week before Michael hit, and I headed home to L.A. My parents both badly needed rest and I hoped they would get it.
Instead, after a terrifying experience in the hurricane, including almost three hours in a small storm closet under their staircase, they were left without power, water or phone service, with a hole in the roof, a smashed upstairs window, a waterlogged upstairs, a ruined yard, neighborhood, and town, and frightening security concerns. With my mother recovering from major surgery. And they’re some of the lucky ones.
My younger brother does contract work overseas while his wife and three kids live in Panama City. This week he made the financially disastrous decision to head home. The second story of the apartment complex his family lives in took a serious hit and is no longer structurally sound. They have to move out. And no power for more than a week now. He and my sister-in-law are looking for a place and there isn’t anything. In a text to me last night he used the phrase “total devastation.” Heartbreaking. Now I’ve just arrived back in Panama City from L.A. to be there for them physically, emotionally, and financially with funds I raise here.
Can you help us? I’ve never asked anything like this before. I feel humbled to do so. Because they can’t do this on their own. Or at least I know I can’t just sit by while they’re forced to. Their version of “the big one” hit. Now we need to take a team approach to phase 1 of re-stabilizing things in our hometown.
Thanks very much for any assistance you can give us, including sharing this page. Truly, THANK YOU.
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