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Hurricane Michael donation drive this week

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Alan Horne / Photo

A scene near Marianna, Florida where Jasper resident Alan Horne grew up shows the destruction caused by Hurricane Michael. Horne is organizing relief efforts for the area.

 

Local State Farm Agent Alan Horne grew up in Marianna, Fla. and this Thursday, Nov. 1st he will host a donation drive at his Jasper office for anyone wanting to donate to those devastated by Hurricane Michael.

While he spent the first 30 years of his life in Florida’s panhandle, Horne has lived in Jasper for six years, moving here to run his State Farm agency at the end of October, 2012. 

Horne has strong ties to the part of the Florida panhandle that took so much of the brunt of Hurricane Michael on October 10th. Horne attended Marianna High School and then the University of Mississippi on a

baseball scholarship before transferring to the University of Florida and finishing his education. He graduated with a degree in Agricultural Economics and after graduating played professional baseball for seven years with the New York Yankees.

“I grew up in Marianna, Florida,” he said. “Much of my family, extended family, and friends are all from the panhandle area.”

Horne just returned from Florida where he spent two weeks helping with cleanup and taking supplies down. Following Thursday’s donation drive he plans to go back down with all the donated supplies and spend another week helping those in need. 

“The damage is incomprehensible and the pictures people have seen do not touch the severity of the situation. Every form of devastation is present - trees ripped apart, power lines down, crops decimated, businesses crushed, homes damaged and even destroyed. Thousands of families are and will be affected for months and even years to come,” Horne said.

Horne said power is starting to be restored in some areas. 

“The job all of these line crews have done is absolutely incredible,” he said.  “I know my parents original timeline for getting power was 76 days and they actually got it back yesterday (October 29th). But some areas will continue to be affected for weeks on end with no power.”

Horne’s own parents’ home sustained considerable damage.

“Two trees went through the roof of their home but it is intact. My grandmother's home has similar damage but we do not know anything about the structural integrity of the home yet to know if it will be rebuilt.” 

Along with homes, larger facilities like schools were similarly hit.

“A lot of schools are planning to open next week but many are still to be determined,” he said.

At Thursday’s donation drive, Horne is asking for the following items to be donated to help the victims of Hurricane Michael: water, Gatorade, non-perishable food items, infant/baby necessities, generator oil, bar and chain oil, sunscreen and bug spray.

Horne said an enclosed trailer will be dropped in his parking lot at 95 Whitfield Drive on Thursday to gather then transport the supplies this weekend.

Horne said he will have his smoker on site and will provide a free BBQ lunch for all who donate.

Horne said while some posts on Facebook have indicated that water is in great supply down there, it is not so in every area.

“Water is still of great need,” he said. “Some areas do have a surplus but most are still in need.  This is not a problem that will be solved in a few weeks or even a few months and some fail to realize that. Water, Gatorade, snacks, generator oil, chainsaw and bar oil, bug spray, winter items such as hats, gloves, and hand warmers, cleaning items, and school supplies all have been requested.” 

Horne said he plans to take all the supplies donated to Florida this weekend “but will make multiple trips this fall and coming winter” as well. 

In addition to Horne’s donation drive Thursday, Edie Stone with the First Baptist Church of Jasper is focusing on a small county and town 50 miles north of Panama City. According to a press release from the church “Calhoun County is the second poorest county in Florida and Blountstown is the only incorporated town in the county. The median income in the county is $26,000 annually. Blountstown Elementary School received significant storm damage. The library and the lunchroom were destroyed. The school will reopen Thursday, Nov. 1, but students are being moved to other facilities and to some portables on the campus.  While insurance will cover much of the school repair, the children are in need of many school supplies to replace those destroyed at the school and in their homes. Many of the children have no homes, power or water. The school is also in need of supplies. Calhoun County 4-H Association has identified and is helping three families with no insurance who lost their homes, automobiles, and all their personal property.”

To assist these families please make contributions to assist this effort by designating "Hurricane Michael Relief" on your check to First Baptist Church of Jasper, 198 East Church Street, Jasper, Ga. 30143. All proceeds will go directly to hurricane victims. The contribution deadline is Sunday, Nov. 18.