The following post is a guest contribution by Michael Williams and is published here with permission.

We live in the Big Bend area of Florida. It gets its name from the way the coast bends around from north-south to east-west. But after seeing what I’ve seen over the past week, I think there’s another reason.

Last week, the Florida Panhandle took a direct hit from an almost Category 5 hurricane that will go unnamed.

When I was helping my parents clean up, only one tree was down in their backyard. When I went to take a closer look I saw this. The tree had fallen down on another tree, bending it over just to the point of breaking. When I saw that I immediately thought, “Wow. This is the perfect image of our community.”

As soon as the hurricane passed, first responders and utility workers were out in the streets doing their jobs, trying to return people to a little bit of normalcy.

Neighbors were out helping neighbors get their lawns cleaned up and debris removed as quickly as they could. Local businesses and churches were opening to feed, house, and provide some relief.

Now that life is pretty much back to normal here in Tallahassee, it’s time to look West. Panama City, Port St. Joe, Marianna, Mexico Beach, Blountstown are just some of the areas that took the biggest hit and they need our help. Not just today, not just next month, but for some time to come.

We are a Big Bend people. We support those around us and serve even when it feels like one more thing could make us break, but we don’t. We just bend a little more.

#BigBendStrong

Michael Williams lives in Tallahassee with his wife Katie and two children.

Photo credit: Michael Williams