NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Nashville woman is rallying around her hometown in Calhoun County, Florida after Hurricane Michael traveled directly through the county and caused major devastation.
“Most people know of Calhoun County because they pass through it on the way to the beach," Jami Joe said. “The entire county looks like a massive tornado has passed through.”
Joe grew up in Calhoun County, which only has a population of about 14,000 people and is the second poorest county in Florida, and she was unable to hear from her family for hours as the hurricane passed through her town. She didn't know if they were okay.
Luckily, the storm passed, and she was able to hear from her family. She was told while they were okay, the county suffered devastating loss, and people are stuck where they are.
“People are in homes. They’re trapped in homes because trees have fallen on their homes. There’s holes in the roof, it’s still raining and nasty weather, but they can’t get out, and people can’t get to them because of trees on the roadways," Joe said.
Joe's father is a fire chief in Calhoun County, and her brother is the assistant chief. Together, they have been working nonstop to rescue those who need rescuing, and one of the biggest hurdles has been clearing the roadways of trees and debris.
Because she knows the need is so great, and most of the rescue and relief efforts will be focused on the more populated areas around the coast, Joe decided to gather as many donations as possible in Nashville with plans to drive them down on Sunday.
“They need all the chainsaws they can get," Joe said. "That’s the number one thing that my father asked for. He said 'Please bring tarps, bungee cords, and chainsaws.'”
For those who wish to donate to the relief efforts, Jami has asked that people reach out to her at Info@JamiJoe.com. She's looking for donations of water, food, gas, chainsaws, and many other items.
While Joe wants to get down south to help in the relief efforts, her family is warning her to be prepared for what she'll see when she arrives.
“My mom just said, 'I want you to prepare yourself, because it’s bad,'" Joe said.
At this time, it's unclear what the whole scope of the damage is in Calhoun County, but Joe wants to make sure her hometown and her home county are not forgotten and that they receive the help they need.