‘I will never not go to a hurricane’: Big Bend residents gathering donations to help Hurricane Laura victims

Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 10:22 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Hurricane Laura has claimed at least six lives after coming ashore overnight as a dangerous Category 4 hurricane near the Louisiana-Texas border.

The storm shredded homes, uprooted trees and left neighborhoods in ruins.

Now, people in the Big Bend, who know the pain of the aftermath of a hurricane all too well, are springing into action to help.

It’s a crowd-sourcing effort that anyone can be a part of. And, from the looks of it, the people hit by Laura are going to need it.

Jillian Corder, an anchor at KPLC, WCTV’s sister station in Lake Charles, Louisiana, was one of the first crews out with the local sheriff’s office this morning.

“It looks like an absolute war zone,” she said. “Power lines down, trees down on every single road. Houses demolished.”

Despite the devastation, Corder says members of the ravaged community are already showing resiliency.

“There were people coming out of their homes to help the sheriff’s office. They didn’t have shoes,” she said.

And, more help is on the way, and from right here in the Big Bend.

“Kind of a spur of the moment thing; saw it on Facebook and thought I’d pitch in where we could,” said Magnus Hines, who dropped off donations on Thursday.

“I think one of the biggest things people would realize is their capacity to affect change and help others,” said Tom Derzypolski, who is taking donations for Laura victims.

The goal is, by the end of the weekend, to have an entire UHAUL trailer packed with supplies. Tapped inside of the door; step-by-step directions to make sure all of the space inside is utilized.

The idea is one inspired by giving hearts and the memory of the destruction left behind by Hurricane Michael in 2018.

“People just came,” Derzypolski said. “They wanted to give and they wanted to help us and I remember telling myself, ’I will never not go to a hurricane.’”

Come Monday, the trailer, or trailers, will be on their way to some of the hardest-hit areas, filled with love from Tallahassee.

For those who want to help, you can send your donations to 2115 Trescott Drive, Tallahassee.

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.

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