Ra'Chelle Roberson, a counselor at Goose Creek High, traveled to Panama City, Florida the weekend of Oct. 20 to be with her family, whose lives were greatly impacted by Hurricane Michael. Goose Creek High students, staff, teachers, and administrators rallied together and helped to fill Roberson's U-Haul truck with water supplies, and other donations to take along with her.
Upon her return, Roberson took the time to share some photos of the community, and to answer some questions about her time in Bay County with her school.
In a questionnaire provided in an e-mail from the school, Roberson said she traveled to Panama City with her husband and sisters-in-law.
“The area has been devastated by Hurricane Michael and we were hoping to help provide some much needed relief to our family and friends,” she said.
In the e-mail she said every member of her family is without a livable home to stay in. However, the community in Bay County is rallying around each other and “no one is being greedy.”
“BayCounty Strong” and “850 Strong” are the themes of the area, she said.
“No one wants to take too many supplies because they want to make sure their neighbors and friends are taken care of and have enough also,” she said in the write-up from the school.
Roberson said it was an “emotional moment” when Goose Creek High surprised her with donations.
“To know that so many people care for others they don’t even know is humbling,” she said in the write-up. “Everyone in Bay County was so very grateful and couldn’t believe the items that were thought of – items that hadn’t even crossed their minds until they realized they didn’t have them anymore. Believe it or not, something as small as dental floss made a few people tear up(.) Bay County is strong and they have a lot of people from around the world pulling for them(.)”
Jeffrey Cousins, a teacher at Goose Creek High, and his mother, Danna Cousins, the director for testing at Berkeley County School District, also have family who were affected by Hurricane Michael. Both have been encouraged by the outpouring of love and support coming in for the victims, according to the write-up.
“The support for those impacted by Hurricane Michael has been extraordinary,” Danna Cousins said. “My parents lost about half of their roof during the storm and they are still without power (12 days and counting). To say that it’s going to be a long road to recovery is an understatement. However, I am confident that Panama City and the surrounding communities will come together and rebuild to be even better than they were before the storm.”
Principal Shameka Washington said she was proud of her students and faculty for stepping up.
“Whether near or far, we rise to the occasion and support each other and those in the community during times of need,” she said in the write-up. “It really proves what Gator Nation is all about.”