WATERS: HURRICANE IRMA BROUGHT SEMINOLE TOGETHER - TBadmin | Oct. 15, 2017
Tampa Bay Reporter does not endorse or otherwise take an editorial position on any topic. However, we do welcome opinions. editorials, columns and other articles from others. This week, Seminole Mayor Leslie Waters praises the response from her city’s employees and residents before, during and after Hurricane Irma.
By LESLIE WATERS, Mayor of Seminole, Guest Columnist
SEMINOLE – Well, Hurricane Irma disrupted just about everything in the city of Seminole a month ago, except our community spirit.
I am pleased at how our “big-little” city came together before-during-and-after Hurricane Irma. Thankfully, we took Irma seriously by preparing our own homes and businesses, looking after others, evacuating as recommended, and generally putting our lives on hold for days and days.
As mayor, I am proud of the enthusiastic and positive attitudes of 142 city employees, including the Seminole EOC [emergency operations] team, scores of CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) volunteers and sheriff’s deputies working around the clock to help put our city back together again.
Despite many city buildings not having electricity, employees were assigned to recovery efforts throughout the city including, raking, sweeping, responding to citizen inquiries, clearing parks and roads of debris, handing out informational flyers in neighborhoods and along major streets, transporting special needs residents from shelters back home; delivering ice, acting as liaisons to Duke Energy, FEMA, Waste Management, and Ashbritt debris hauler.
While driving throughout the neighborhoods, speaking to residents, I witnessed neighbors-helping-neighbors. I heard of new friendships with neighbors, dinners being shared, and saw residents expressing appreciation of the linesmen by giving them cold bottles of water. The Appreciation Cookout for 400 linemen at Seminole High School with more than 1,000 people in attendance was heartwarming…and fun. I stopped at shops along Seminole Boulevard that had no power, but were conducting business the best they could.
The first weeks of September were stressful for us all. But somehow we managed; and, yes not without tears by some and impatience by others. But you know, I have always said that Seminole is a caring and giving city, and we proved it once again in the face of Irma!
So bye bye, Irma, don’t even think of bringing your rain bands and strong winds to Seminole again!
For information about Seminole, go to myseminole.com.