Law Office of William F. Underwood - December 2018


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In the Aftermath PULLING TOGETHER AFTER HURRICANE MICHAEL A s most Georgians know, hurricanes usually skirt along our coasts, sending heavy rains and winds our way. Though not as devastating as they could be, these storms can cause some damage. But it was kind of local lore that Georgia had been hurricane-free for decades. from. For example, within the first few days of the devastation, I saw an electrical truck from Jacksonville, Florida, drive by. It’s amazing that a state like Florida, which is consistently slapped by hurricanes every year and wasn’t missed by Michael, would feel compelled to help other states struggling to cope with their once-in-a-lifetime storm.

Then Hurricane Michael hit.

Similarly, we had linemen from all over the region work tirelessly to restore power, and the Red Cross and FEMA responded quickly to food and water needs. Even before them, we had others who stepped up to provide essentials to our community. It was a collaborative effort of restoration. We’d been knocked down, and we were now equipped to come back fighting. All the help we received following the hurricane has really struck me, and it’s made me realize the need to give back more when these disasters happen. Like most people, I didn’t realize the magnitude of a hurricane until I experienced it. There’s a complete loss of infrastructure, and basic essentials, like food, shelter, and water, are more urgently needed. It’s a complex feeling to go from worrying about your day-to-day tasks to suddenly wondering when your power will come back on or if you have enough water. I’m beyond thankful that my family and I were safe during and after Hurricane Michael, and I’m proud of the way Georgia and the southeastern coast have fought back. Thank you to everyone who has helped; it made the aftermath of our rare hurricane a little bit easier to navigate.

In early October, Hurricane Michael made landfall in four states, including Georgia. Residents began to prepare and hunker down as Michael picked up speed and power and barreled toward the southeastern U.S. coastline. I remember seeking shelter in my bathtub and losing power, as most residents did. A tree hit my home, causing damage to my roof, but thankfully, it didn’t plunge through the ceiling below. I know God was watching over me that day, and I’m thankful I only have minor damage to contend with. This is nothing compared to what others are now faced with cleaning up. Entire communities, like Mexico Beach, Florida, were wiped off the map. Schools closed indefinitely. Residents may be forced to move from the towns they’ve always known. Families lost loved ones — specifically 19 loved ones, at last count. The death toll included an 11-year-old girl in Georgia, who was visiting her grandparents when she was killed by a metal carport that came through the roof of the house. The devastation didn’t discriminate between state lines, class, or race. It hit everyone in its path. But there’s something about Southerners that you don’t understand until you live here: We’re resilient. I was so proud to see the help that was coming our way in the aftermath of this hurricane, and I was equally amazed to see where it came

-William F. “Trey” Underwood, III

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