In the aftermath of Harvey, I have thought long and hard about my experiences once again living on the Gulf Coast of Florida for many years. We saw many hurricanes over the years, some with very little damage and others with devastating effects for many months. I hurt for the people of Texas, knowing that very soon, the rest of us will move on with our lives, while they start the very long and difficult process of rebuilding their lives, their homes, and their mental health.
Anytime a hurricane develops, I feel a familiar pit in my stomach. Although it’s been several years now since the landfall of a major hurricane on the mainland United States, the monstrous effects of Hurricane Ivan on me, and my family personally, remain, likely forever. As a wife and mom, the effect of the hurricane was not just in the packing and evacuating but also in the separation and difficult decisions that had to be made not just before the storm but after.
While I, my mom, and the kids evacuated from Hurricane Ivan just prior to its landfall on the panhandle of Florida on September 16, 2004, my husband remained behind to help with rescue and recovery efforts. My husband stayed because he was a volunteer fireman in our local fire department and felt his presence was vital to help our community with recover. He and the crew evacuated just far enough inland to still be accessible once the hurricane had passed through as they were ordered to stay off the roads until the all clear.
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