Hurricane Michael sent us packing...

Discussion in 'Help From Above' started by Harlockssx, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. Harlockssx

    Harlockssx Brother Graw Mad

    I moved to Panama City Florida in the beginning of January this wife rejoined me in February. We had relocated back to the US after living overseas, due to my work as a defense contractor. I took a position in a fighter squadron based out of Tyndall AFB, and shortly later found out my wife was expecting with our first child (due Mar 2019). Although the pay was very low compared to overseas, it was nice to be back in the thick of things with a busy F22 squadron, and I knew that I was making a big difference. We have been renting a 3-bedroom house in the Callaway area, very close to Tyndall, which is directly on the gulf side of the Florida Panhandle. Our home is 2 blocks from the bay...but slightly sheltered by having Tyndall in between us & the open sea...

    We started hearing that a hurricane was brewing and it may come near, last weekend. We had a 3 day weekend, with Monday off for Columbus Day...I started to get an uneasy feeling on Saturday, and decided to top off our two daily driver, and get a 5-gal gas can to fill too. We got a few cases of water and fresh food, just in case we needed to hunker down while the hurricane passed...It was my intention to remain in my house and ride the future storm out. Then we started hearing how powerful the winds were becoming, and the hurricane was upgraded in severity. Bay County Emergency Management began to give more warnings, finally issuing an evacuation order...about 8 hours later, the Air Force did the same, telling ALL on Tyndall that they needed to leave immediately...

    I decided to leave behind my GS & Lexus in our garage, and hope for the best. We packed up my little beater car, a 2005 Scion XB that I picked up for $3k a year ago, as it would pack in more than the other two cars, while being a gas sipper compared to them. We deposited our cash on hand, taking only a little, so we wouldn't be traveling with too much, and packed up our valuables & guns, 3 days of clothes, my dog, and two turtles...The tracking of the hurricane was now looking like it was coming directly towards us...I decided my sister's place in Pensacola was too risky, as it was also a potential hit area, so I drove out to Cocoa Beach, east of Orlando, since there's Patrick AFB there, in case I needed support from the base.

    We checked into a pet-friendly La Quinta hotel, and started watching the news...Sure enough, Michael makes a bee-line directly to our place, destroying Tyndall AFB, and leaving a path of destruction in its wake. A path that decimated our area of Panama City. Callaway had reports of a tornado touching down and when I started to see pictures, I was floored. I kept seeing Mexico Beach (catastrophic) and Panama City Beach (which didn't fare badly) but not much else...We prayed & prayed that our house would be ok...After two days, a buddy of mine I used to fly with got in touch with me, he was in Panama City, doing cleanup. He was glad to go check out our house. When he did, all the roads in our neighborhood were impassible, and he had to walk about a mile to get there from where he could park at. Most of my neighbors had significant damage...houses crushed by trees, nearly all were missing all or parts of their roofs, and some were completely demolished...

    Somehow, our house was mostly spared. On our entire block, only three houses were somewhat OK, and we were fortunate to be one of them. I wept with relief and thanks to God! We lost a few things, but nothing too bad. I tried to barricade the front (storm side) of the house prior to leaving, mainly to keep looters away. We are still being told that it isn't safe to return. Power lines are down everywhere, trees block the roads, there is no electricity, water, gas, nor are any businesses open. Two of my coworkers in different areas of town, that weren't hit as bad, rode out the storm, but only were able to remain a few days in those conditions. Only a few cellular providers are working, and they were cut off from the world until they made their way out, which in one's case took nearly 24 hours...

    Work is telling us to remain wherever we can, and the Military Members & GS employees will be given per diem and traveling reimbursement...however as a contractor, I am entitled to no assistance. I stayed 3 days in a hotel before hitting the road and driving to my Parent's house in Ohio. I'm worried sick about my house and belongings, but I refuse to bring my pregnant wife into that disaster area. Looters are hitting up anything they can, and one was recently shot for trying to steal a cop car...There's still no emergency services, although food and water have begun to be distributed in a few places. My money is tight, but I'm glad we had enough to be able to run away...

    I'm asking for prayers that we don't get robbed, and that utilities begin to come back online soon...
    Houmark, Smokey15, pbr400 and 3 others like this.
  2. Gallagher

    Gallagher Founders Club Member

    Prayer sent.
    Harlockssx and johnriv67 like this.
  3. PCUB


    Thanks for taking the time to describe your family circumstances; it helps for us living on the west coast to appreciate the magnitude of this disaster and the hardship you are facing. You certainly have our prayers and best wishes for a speedy recovery from your losses. The best news is that you and family are safe... take care and let us know how it all works out. We also feel for the property and life loss of your neighbors in the area.
    Smokey15, Harlockssx and pbr400 like this.
  4. Donuts & Peelouts

    Donuts & Peelouts Life's 2 Short. Live like it.

    Your in my prayers
    Harlockssx likes this.
  5. Donuts & Peelouts

    Donuts & Peelouts Life's 2 Short. Live like it.

    Matt you as a husband are doing the best thing. And as a man of God aswell, keep putting your stress and worry in God's hand and he will have the best possible outcome for you. Happy to hear your house was spared. Better days are coming
    Smokey15 and Harlockssx like this.
  6. 1972Mach1

    1972Mach1 Just some M.M.O.G. guy.....

    Prayers sent, and I will continue to pray for you. Good luck, and keep us posted.
    Harlockssx likes this.

    JESUPERCAT No Slow Boat

    Matt prayers for you, wife and the very little one.
    My sister and brother in law are stationed at Pensacola I'm sure they would lend a hand when you are ready to head back.
    Stay safe.
  8. Smokey15

    Smokey15 So old that I use AARP bolts.

    Prayers for Your Family as well as all those affected by the devastation. As for looters, what a bunch of subhuman scum. I hope those scum 'find' the downed power lines.
  9. carmantx

    carmantx Never Surrender

    Prayers for you!
  10. faster

    faster Well-Known Member

    Praying for you and your wife and child.

  11. Harlockssx

    Harlockssx Brother Graw Mad

    We went up to my parent’s house in Ohio until things are better. Gulf Power estimates around 25 October power will be back in my area. Water briefly came on once this week, then it might be some time before that is ok. I will attempt to contact the City of Callaway Utility Department on Monday, hopefully their phone will be in service.

    Our Property Managers came back to their relatively unscathed home in Panama City Beach, but a drive to my home that would normally take 30-45 minutes tops now takes 3 1/2 hours, and gasoline is still extremely difficult to come by. Tomorrow morning, our home will be inspected by the insurance company, to assess true damage...crossing my fingers that we are going to be ok...

    IF electricity, gas, and water are turned back on, I think we will give a few extra days before attempting to return. I have my sister in Pensacola and two other friends in that area we could stay with if needed...
    Donuts & Peelouts likes this.

    JESUPERCAT No Slow Boat

    Glad to hear that you have a plan.
    Spend some time with the parents as that is time well spent while you can.
    Continued prayers.
    Thanks for the update
  13. Harlockssx

    Harlockssx Brother Graw Mad

    Taulbee took my wife & I to lunch today here in Dayton, thank you brother! It was nice to meet a fellow V8Buick member & talk about the important things, building cars!

    Our homeowner’s insurance adjuster has yet to report in with regards to damage. With how bad things still are, I anticipate returning home no earlier than the first week of November.
    sriley531 and Donuts & Peelouts like this.
  14. Donuts & Peelouts

    Donuts & Peelouts Life's 2 Short. Live like it.

    Class act. I'm glad you still have your head up, try to give your wife nothing but good days..

    So I have to ask did you all out or did you order something small. I see your a big guy, a 2 steaks 3 potatoes kinda guy. Lol just playing man, have a blessed Sunday
  15. Harlockssx

    Harlockssx Brother Graw Mad

    Country fried chicken, fries, corn, Coke. Wife did get a 6oz sirloin, mixed vegetables, corn, and a Coke.
  16. Taulbee2277

    Taulbee2277 Silver Level contributor

    No worries! Glad we were able to get together during your stay. It was great to meet and chat with both of you!
  17. Harlockssx

    Harlockssx Brother Graw Mad

    So, I’d like to say things are getting better. We got word that Thursday night, Power was switched back on, and water (not drinkable) was working too...the gut punch came Friday at close of business...

    The Air Force suspended our entire team’s contract until when/if Tyndall AFB is rebuilt sufficiently enough to sustain normal operations. I’m a defense contractor who has been working in an administrative position since January. I relocated on my own dime to Panama City in order to take this job. We were told that effective 26 October (on 36 October) we would not be getting paid.

    As contractors, we are not entitled to any of the benefits for relief that Active Duty or GS Civil Servants when we were given the mandatory evacuation order, we would not be reimbursed any expenses for fleeing the disaster zone. We were ordered by the Air Force to remain no closer than 50 miles to the base, due to the severity...and we wouldn’t be reimbursed for any lodging expenses or Per Diem, which everyone else assigned to Tyndall AFB is. That order remains in effect. There’s been an outpouring of support to my brothers in uniform, to include relocation expenses, shelter, storage and moving...but nothing for us dirty contractors...who make substantially less than our military & GS counterparts.

    So, now I’m going to move back (against orders) to the home I will shortly not be able to afford, due to not being paid, and not being fired. Will probably have to break my lease and move everything I own to God knows where...try to find another job. There’s still no cellular service in my area with Verizon, as well as no internet service from any ISP. I’m going to try to get a prepaid T-Mobile SIM card to use as a hotspot at home, so I can still have phone & internet service, once we get home...and hopefully get another job.

    This is shaping up to be the roughest year I’ve ever had. My wife is expecting in the beginning of March, and I have no idea how we are going to make it that far if I can’t get into a new (and hopefully better paying) job soon. I’ll be heading to the VA once I get back to see if they can assist me with Vocational Rehabilitation. The cherry on top was getting a call from FEMA to be told our application for assistance was being cancelled, since we couldn’t be at the house for them to validate our claim...and we’d have to resubmit it after we returned.

    Please keep us in your prayers. I don’t know how much more I can take...
  18. Donuts & Peelouts

    Donuts & Peelouts Life's 2 Short. Live like it.

    Stay strong, dont break. Your a man, we dont fold.

    In 5 years hopefully less youll see it was all for the good.

    Make today a good day, because it is. At least you still got your wife and soon you'll be a Dad. And when you see your baby you'll say Michael who
  19. Smokey15

    Smokey15 So old that I use AARP bolts.

    That sucks for sure. At least the house was a rental and hopefully the lease can be broken if the house is uninhabitable. It sounds like you have great credentials as far as a job search goes. I pray that everything works out for the best.
  20. faster

    faster Well-Known Member

    All I can say is I've seen that movie and it sucks. But you get to walk away with your lives and your baby and start over so take some comfort in that. I was 54 when it happened to us, you are younger and have more time. Doesn't make it any easier but know we understand your pain, frustration and sense of what happens next.

    I don't know how tight your relationship with God is, it is okay to get upset with God and yell at Him! It is okay to ask Him why! But the most important thing you can do is let show you why because He has a reason and He will if you allow it. He created all of us for a purpose and we don't seek out that purpose as we go about our lives. We've listened to far too many preachers who believe if you have enough faith, if you have enough hope, if you be good enough, if you seek God enough your life will go smoothly with prosperity. Well God's definition of love, prosperity, compassion and mercy are different than ours so don't try to put all this in terms you think it should be in. In the Bible David was a murderer, a fornicator, an adulterer and ruined the lives of so many women. His kids were a disaster raping and killing each other yet God blessed him. Jeremiah at seventeen was totally obedient to the point he never knew love or touch from a woman, never had any friends, everyone hated him for his message. He was imprsoned four times, once in a mire of mud. He was threatened with death so many times you can't count, turned over to Israel's enemies yet always obeyed and walked in faith and lived the hardest life imagineable and that was God's blessing. So all I can say is find out the vessel you are to be for God to find your answers and your peace because if you dilligently are seeking God but on the wrong track He will put you on the right track no matter how painful. If you want to stay on the wrong track He will allow that also. Took me twenty years to figure that out and the last ten have been a nightmare until I finally let go of my faulty Christian foundation.

    PM me if you want to read how I came to that. It is way too long to write here.

    God bless my brother.

    Harlockssx and Smokey15 like this.

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