JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A handful of Jackson County firefighters are back on the Coast after lending a helping hand to those impacted by Hurricane Michael in Florida.
Two days after devastation, five volunteer firefighters with the Northeast Fire Department in Hurley packed up and headed for Florida.
“We loaded up supplies, and we were on the road at like 3:30 that morning. We got there at like 8:30," said Volunteer Firefighter Jeremy Snelgrove.
The group drove into complete devastation. From scattered debris to demolished buildings and overturned train cars, Snelgrove said they first saw downed trees.
“Closer we got to Panama City, it was more roofs gone, building fronts destroyed, store fronts destroyed, entire homes destroyed. And the further east you go like to Mexico Beach, completely leveled," he said.
Despite the shock, the firefighters got straight to work.
“That’s when we started driving around to the different firemen’s' houses, fixing the roofs, cleaning their yards and stuff like that," Jeremy said.
The group stayed mainly in Panama City, traveling to the homes of first responders. They met a group of firefighters from just north of Atlanta. Together, they worked to repair what they could. They snapped photos of the destruction, and captured a glimpse of hope.
“The most memorable thing that I saw was the flags that the fire department had up on their ladder trucks," Jeremy said. “Just to let you know that ‘hey, this is America and we are going to help you’.”
He added, “It’s not about money. For us to help our fellow firemen and their communities and stuff like that, we are specifically doing this to give back to the community.”
A couple of firefighters will be making another trip to Florida this weekend. Any donations are greatly appreciated. You can drop them off at any fire station in Jackson County.