Homeowners, vacationers return to Mexico Beach one year after Hurricane Michael


MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – The one year anniversary of Hurricane Michael brought back folks who own property in the still-recovering town of Mexico Beach on Thursday.

Mark Ledbertter and his family are from Arkansas. He said they’ve been coming to Mexico Beach for 12 years.

His mother has been vacationing here for over 15 years.

“And then last year, she was here, had to evacuate on the 8th. And so this year she wanted to come back and see it, so we brought her back down,” Ledbertter explained.

He said seeing the effects are devastating, but he’s glad it does not seem to bother his mom.

“Like my mother said, the sunsets are still here, the beach is still here, the people are still here. It’s really not as bad as we thought!”

Shelly Thompson owns a unit in Paradise Shores on the beach. She said her damage was “not as bad as everybody else,” but she did have four inches of water on the floor and water running down her walls from the roof.

Thursday was very special for Thompson, who vacations in Mexico Beach from Kentucky.

“Actually, in the last week, it’s the first time we’ve been able to stay here. We finally got our certificate of occupancy and our unit is totally complete as of this morning,” she smiled.

Reina Collard and her husband weren’t so lucky. They own a home across the street from Paradise Shores, on Ocean View Drive.

“Well, we had seven and a half feet of water inside. We had just completed furnishing it two days prior and we life and Michael hit… and that was it,” Collard explained.

The couple is staying in Maine now, but said it was important to be back a year later.

Collard is trying to stay positive. After all, she’s relaxing on a pristine beach just a year after the storm tore through the town.

“In a year’s time, me coming back now, it was important to be back for the one year anniversary, but to see what Mexico Beach has done is just incredible. They have worked so hard and got some much done,” she said.

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