I knew I had to do something.

Hakeem Gunn

DRB Capital

Hurricane Michael Relief Efforts in Florida Receive Selfless Volunteers to Help Rebuild

We are recognizing one of our team members, Hakeem Gunn, for his tremendous contributions to the Hurricane Michael relief efforts. He has just returned from Panama City where he spent two and a half weeks assisting The Salvation Army and FEMA with their cleanup efforts. Way to go Hakeem!!

On October 10th, 2018, Hurricane Michael touched down on Panama City, Florida. The Category 4 hurricane decimated structures along the Florida panhandle leaving tens of thousands of residents homeless, hopeless, and hungry. Drinkable water is scarce, residents are still without electricity, and what’s left of Panama City is severely damaged. “I knew I had to do something”, said DRB Capital’s very own Hakeem Gunn. Hakeem joined the ranks of over 3000+ selfless volunteers who joined The Salvation Army, FEMA, and other groups to assist with the cleanup relief efforts including everyday basic needs such as food and shelter. Though Hakeem had seen the destruction reported in the news, nothing could prepare him for the sheer devastation he and the other volunteers encountered during the two and a half weeks he spent in Panama City.

Many of the homes were completely leveled or made uninhabitable from the hurricane’s 200-mile trail of destruction. The few homes that still stood despite the storm had many issues such as caved in ceilings, damaged interiors, insulation piled on the floor, and most were missing their roof altogether. One of the homes was destroyed by a large fallen maple tree that had essentially torn the home in two parts. Another was blown apart by flying debris carried by the 120+ mph winds with only a shell of the former home left behind. The cleanup efforts proved challenging as many of the paths and roads were obstructed by power lines, fallen trees, and rubble. This did not deter Hakeem who was compelled to help in any way he could. Hakeem and his large group spent most of the time moving debris and trees from the roads that were inside residential neighborhoods, bringing food and water door to door for residents, bringing supplies to those who had none, providing and helping with transportation for residents to get to FEMA offices. They helped in any way needed for people that could not leave their home. Hakeem and team helped set up sleeping areas with cots as well as organizing shelter assistance, serving and preparing food to them and whoever else that needed food and water throughout the city.

Beyond cleanup efforts, Hakeem had the chance of meeting some of the local residents affected by the storm – residents who also joined the cleanup efforts as well as offered food, water, and gratitude to the volunteers. Restoring Panama City to its former self will take a lot of hard work, money, and time, but with volunteers like Hakeem and others helping rebuild the area, they are well on their way. We are proud to have him on our DRB Capital team!

To find out more on how to help like Hakeem did, contact The Salvation Army website.  

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