FIREFIGHTERS HELP CLEAR LYNN HAVEN FAMILY’S PROPERTY

A few walls and kitchen cabinets are the only things still in place at Kim Hutchinson’s Pennsylvania Avenue home in Lynn Haven. 13 years of memories for Kim and her husband inside their house, were scattered. “We lost everything,” said Kim Hutchison. She hasn’t lost hope though. She says progress is being made everyday. Most recently, calling a FEMA trailer that now sits on her property. She and her husband, and two young children, now have a warm place to sleep, eat, and even watch TV. It’s a huge relief, but getting it set up, was a huge hurdle. “It was sitting on the side of the road, and I said, ‘Well, what’s the deal?’ They said, ‘We can’t put in on the property because of zoning laws; it has to be so many feet from the road and so many feet from the structure,'” said Hutchinson. Kim has also been getting help from a local non profit, called ‘Blessing’s For,’ since the storm. Blessings For is a non-profit out of Walton County, created about five years ago by Sean Miller and his wife to help people in tough situations. They took a two year hiatus but recently reactivated after Hurricane Michael. While Miller calls Santa Rosa Beach home now, him and his wife grew up in Bay County. Miller graduated from Mosley High School. “We just bring hope to those affected by a natural disaster, unforeseen emergency, house, hurricane, flood,” said Miller. His team is at Kim’s house the day the FEMA trailer arrived and are told there’s still more work to be done before it can be left there. Miller tried to get a waiver for the trailer, but it’s a waiting game. The trailer was just sitting on the side of the road for hours, until a fireman, working right across the street, intervened. “The guy from the fire department said you’re not leaving with that trailer. Those people need that trailer and he said, well you’re gonna have to tear up that porch, and he said, OK, let’s go,” said Hutchinson. Hutchison is referring to Sarasota County Firefighter Paramedic Gabe Gadah. He and his partner, EMT Paramedic Zack Ayers, were in Bay County, for six days, working out of Lynn Haven Fire Station 1, assisting Bay County EMS with 911 calls. They both traded in their medical kits for sledgehammers and started chipping away at Hutchinson’s front porch. Also at Lynn Haven Station 1 were three Bay County Fire Rescue firemen who were covering for Lynn Haven firefighters. Firefighters Michael Dean and Jay Hunt, along with Lt. Brian Welborn, also grabbing equipment doing what they can to clear the property. “They were using every tool they have, they had to think outside the box,” said Sean Miller. “I couldn’t believe it, they went above and beyond,” said Hutchinson. Strangers, from near, and far, working for hours, and not giving up until the property was clear and ready for the FEMA trailer.  “I wanna tell them thank you,” said Hutchinson. “They gave us hope, and a place for us to sleep at night, where we’re warm and comfortable. And I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.” In the midst of everyone chiseling away at the front porch to make room, there was also a good Samaritan on a tractor who happened to be driving by. They flagged him down, and he kindly agreed to help too. No one had his name, but they are so appreciative of his help.

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