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Small-Town Blues: Blountstown Recovers

October 15th, 2018 by Mike Vasilinda
Blountstown Florida is 50 miles west of the state capital and 52 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.
The destruction caused by. Hurricane Michael in the small town is unusual because it so far inland.
Blountstown Florida resembles a war zone.
Carolyn Panek rode out the 145 mile an hour winds on the floor of a friends house.
“Very glad to be alive. TI have never seen anything like this. It’s unreal,” said Panek. “Of course I was afraid. I was in a little old bitty utility room on a dog pad with a blanket and a pillow.”
We met Carolyn picking up relief supplies at the first Baptist Church.
The church lost part of its roof in the storm, but Pastor Tim Rhodes held Sunday services anyway.
“We wanted to remember there is a god. He is good, and he loves us,” said Rhodes. “Even though you’re going through this, God’s still here.”
On the town’s main intersection, a Texas trucking company, who’s owner grew up in Blountstown, set up a large scale kitchen.
“Just trying to cook, trying to keep up. We’re in desperate need of more water, we need ice. It’s unbelievable,” said Travis Platt, who is volunteering as a cook.
Thousands are being fed three meals a day.
“If it wasn’t for everybody out here, no, we probably wouldn’t be able to eat. And we are thankful we are blessed,” said Jake Peters, a volunteer fireman.
The city has so much distraction, recovery will likely be measured not in months, but years.
The prison outside Blountstown was so damaged, inmates had to be transferred.
It was one of four panhandle prisons that had to be closed because of storm damage.

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