Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) chief Brock Long is calling the damage left by Hurricane Michael some of the worst he's ever seen, according to The Associated Press. The hurricane hit a large section of the Panhandle, from little beach towns to Panama city to rural communities miles from the shoreline. More than 190,000 homes and businesses in Florida were still without electricity four days after it hit, on October 11.
Our friend, Tom Detrick, is one of these people. As of today (Monday, October 15) he is still without electricity (a generator is arriving from his brother soon), trees are down all over his property (blocking access in/out), phone service is hit or miss, and worst of all—his home was severely damaged with him and his dogs (all miraculously unharmed) inside.
They are living in a portion of the house that is as safe as can be, Tom is continuing to saw each tree by hand (even though he has a heart condition, he has no choice as volunteers are not out in his area yet), and food/water supplies were supplied 12 miles down the road (we believe a neighbor got him there—communication is limited).
Tom is a native of Streator, IL and 1968 graduate of the University of Illinois (BA, LAS). After graduation and serving during Vietnam in the US Army, Tom relocated to Panama City Beach in 1971, where he began mastering the art of flint knapping. He began by diving in many of Florida’s then unexplored rivers and springs, collecting and analyzing southeastern artifacts and fossils.
Tom has been President and Vice-President of the Northwest Florida Anthropological Society, participated in the creation of and research for the Florida Archaeological Divers Association, lectured at Florida State University, presented Lifelong Learning and Elderhostel cultural programs for Gulf Coast State College, and was an instructor (of primitive skills) for the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Along the way, he has also been featured in several publications, magazines, newspapers, and television documentaries related to southeastern pre-Columbian cultures and Florida’s stone age and ice age past.
Tom has always loved living in the woods. He cares for his dogs there, of course, but also all the surrounding wildlife including birds, deer, and Daffy the duck. Tom's love of Native American history revealed his incredible artistry (which was on display and for sale at the Native Spirit Museum and Gallery—we don't know the condition of the museum/gallery at this time, but can assume the worst). His attention to detail is so well done, Native Americans have bought from him. These pieces are all made from found items on his property, and no animals were harmed in the creation.
Financially, Tom will face his biggest challenge. Most of the damage isn’t covered by insurance for modular homes. His main source of income (his artwork) was destroyed as well as his transportation needed to get to galleries, museums, gift shops, cultural festivals, Native American cultural events, and fine arts and crafts shows.
This is why we’re starting this page, as a source of emergency funds for recovery from such devastation. Every donation helps, no matter what size. If you cannot donate at this time, we ask you share with your friends and family, please.
Thank you for your time and support. We will post updates here as we receive them!
DonationsSee top donations
- Marsha Holland
- Syd Rose-Churney
- Melissa Teske
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Fundraising team: Team Tom (4)
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