Lowndes County middle school students thank Hurricane Idalia first responders

“What inspired my letter was how long I went without power, and how I really got to see it affected my attitude and personal well-being.”
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 5:27 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Hahira Middle School eighth-grade students wrote over 100 letters thanking first responders for their dedication following Hurricane Idalia.

“Everyone knows that we thank our front-line men but whenever they truly get to see kids thanking them with letters and stuff I feel like they truly feel appreciated,” Marissa Strother, a Hahira Middle School eighth-grade student, said. “What inspired my letter was how long I went without power, and how I really got to see it affected my attitude and personal well-being.”

Some students said after seeing the work from linemen after the hurricane, they felt compelled to thank those who restored power to their neighborhoods and schools.

“I feel like it means a lot to them,” Sidnee Slaughter, Hahira Middle School eighth-grader, said. “Maybe sometimes, they feel like with their job no one really cares or recognizes them. My whole neighborhood was out of power for a long time. And people were having to come to other people houses to use stuff.”

Hahira Middle School Counselor Palmer Nesmith reached out to Georgia Power to ask how students could show appreciation for the linemen’s efforts.

“When students are going through anything, you are there to support and to show support,” Nesmith said. “And that’s something that our students have never been through a hurricane. When we came back for our teacher-in-service day before our students started back, we gave a presentation of how to support students after a hurricane or a natural disaster. There was a full spectrum of what students were writing and it was beautiful to read, but above all, they just wanted to say thank you. There were two ends of the same spectrum. No social media because my phone is dead but also making sure my parents can provide.”

Over the last two weeks, the community has been finding ways to show its support to linemen, but the letters gave students a way to show their support.

“These linemen are working tirelessly to get the power back on and to hear from kids and students about their experience and how thankful they are for the work they put in; it was necessary for us to do it,” Brandon Moore, Georgia Power Community Relations Representative, said.

Nesmith said each of the letters thanked linemen for saving their lives as students were able to charge technology devices and their parents were able to return to work.