Packed with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, Category 4 Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida panhandle leaving a devastating wake in its path. Residents witnessed neighbor’s houses be torn to shreds, businesses submerged in rainwater, and thick, green forests vanish from the wrath of the storm. In the midst of the devastation and destruction, Butler paralegal and Tallahassee native, Sheryl Hutchinson, stepped up in a big way.
Sheryl and her husband, Buck, raised $700 through friends, family and co-workers who were concerned about the welfare of the people in the panhandle – specifically in Panama City, the town where Buck’s family resides and Sheryl used to live. The pair rolled up their sleeves and got to work purchasing everything the hurricane victims would need: food, paper goods, hygiene products, diapers, first-aid supplies, dog and cat food, and water. The supplies also included MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) that were donated by a friend who is a volunteer firefighter to help sustain those in need.
Sheryl and Buck’s son brought over a friend, and the group started placing items into the disaster relief bags that were donated by the Bradfordville Publix. Once the rations were divvied up, Sheryl and Buck loaded their SUV and trailer and headed to pre-planned destinations in rural areas where others might not think to go. Many people were stranded without gas, cellphone service or internet access to know when or if help was on the way. Sheryl made it her mission to reach as many as she could so that these sectors did not feel forgotten. With the help of Buck’s brother who lives in Panama City, Sheryl and her husband delivered the majority of the goods before the dusk curfew.
Not wanting to leave out the men and women helping to restore power back to the community, the couple handed out ice-cold waters and homemade chocolate chip cookies that were baked by a friend to the linemen working in the area.
“Everywhere you looked there was someone helping someone else. Strangers helping strangers…They will rebuild, but their lives and the county are forever changed,” said Sheryl.
Sheryl and Buck Hutchinson wish to thank Bradfordville Publix for their donation of bags and all of their family, friends and coworkers who helped in their Hurricane Michael relief efforts. A special thanks to Officer Zach of the Tallahassee Police Department who took leftover supplies to Jackson County so that every donation was delivered.
“We are so thankful to those who helped us. We couldn’t have done it without them. We made a difference. We made people smile, but most of all, we helped those in need. That is what community is all about.”