President Trump will hold his first 2020 Florida political rally since the 2018 elections on Wednesday, and he’s doing it in the Panhandle which was ravaged by Hurricane Michael.
David Hutchinson rode out Hurricane Michael in his home in Port St. Joe Beach. Since that time, destruction has surrounded his home and the neighborhood has lost longtime residents.
“There’s been a bunch of people that’s moved out and haven’t returned,” said Hutchinson.
For miles around his home buildings were destroyed and debris still lines the streets and roadways.”Oh yea, there is going to be a generational change. It will be five plus years before it even starts to get back to normal,” said Hutchinson.
He knows President Trump is planning to visit Panama City Wednesday, but it’s not likely he will see the major damage in Port St. Joe Beach and the neighboring Mexico Beach where Hurricane Michael made landfall.
Hutchinson says he hopes the President can appreciate how much help the area still needs.
“It’s still major destruction still. It’s been cleaned up and all to a degree, but there is a still a lot of help that’s needed as far as the federal assistance,” said Hutchinson.
A few miles away, Joanne Kennedy drove a golf cart past homes and condos that were destroyed by Hurricane Michael. Her own home suffered major damage. She evacuated just before the storm hit and returned to see the devastation.
“We got to my street and we found boats all down the street. Not in the yards, just all down the street. We got to our houses and they were standing and we thought at first oh, not too bad and then we walked in,” said Kennedy.
Inside her home, she found four feet of standing water. “The houses were just demolished inside. There was probably about ten feet of debris, trees, and cars in our yards,” said Kennedy.
She knows it’s unlikely President Trump will see her neighborhood, but she would like him to know that people here are still suffering.
“Storm hit in October and we thought we would be back in our home by Christmas. It’s now going on seven months and we’re one of the lucky ones, we’re probably looking at about two months. Most people are looking at a year to two more years,” said Kennedy. She believes the only hope is Federal assistance.
“The expense is so great there is no way our city can afford this, there’s just no way,” said Kennedy.