By ANNETTE HARVISONHerald Correspondent
Turkey Fork Reservoir and the Sand Hill community have welcomed a few evacuees from the wrath of Hurricane Irma. Many residents of the state of Florida were given the orders to evacuate, and with that came mass traffic congestion on southern highways. Knowing the hurricane was supposed to miss Mississippi, some of the evacuees headed west and ended up here. While members of these families were out and about, some of them spoke about evacuating for the storm.
Sue Picklo and Roy Norris from Crystal River, Fla., a town near Tampa, are not able to return home yet, being told there is no electricity and no gas to make it all the way there. Picklo and Norris fled the storm in their truck. They have been given a couple of tents to sleep in and store supplies. This couple also bragged on a group of campers across the way from their site. The young men from Greene County, who are nameless at the time, have been making sure the couple have what they need and have even shared meals.
Andrea Jones and Cory Rice from Milton, Fla. said they moved further inland to spare their home from wind damage should the storm have come too close to them. Although they were not expected to get a direct hit from the storm, they were uncertain if their travel trailer would hold up to the strength and size of Hurricane Irma. They plan to return to Milton Wednesday morning. The pair said they have enjoyed their stay at Turkey Fork.
Carolyn Durrell, another Florida resident that was staying in Orlando at the time of the storm, said that she has been blessed to find comfort a Turkey Fork. She said she has been through a difficult patch in her life and couldn’t have found this place at a better time.
“I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to the people of this community,” said Durrell. “I have never met people so kind and generous.”
Durrell said she stayed off most main highways as they were congested. She made her way to Waynesboro before making it to Turkey Fork.
West Salem Baptist Church and Canaan Baptist Church have been a helping hand for these Floridians that have made their way to the county. These churches have brought food and supplies to the Floridians that are here for a while. The evacuees have been thankful for the home-cooked meals and kind fellowship they have received.
Fellow campers have been a blessing to these displaced Floridians as well. Friendly conversations and company have been a Godsend as these people must wait to return to their home state.
The National Forest Service allows evacuees to stay in the National Forest parks free of charge. The evacuees camping at Turkey Fork have all enjoyed their stay. All of them have said it has been a pleasant experience and the atmosphere is beautiful and peaceful. For having to flee the storm, they agree that they have had a relaxing stay. Picklo and Norris, and Durrell also, said they will stay at the lake until October 1 when the park closes for maintenance.
To the ones that have lent their time to help these people that have been displaced by Hurricane Irma, these evacuees agree that you are some of the kindest people they have met and would like to give a great big “Thank you” and “God Bless” to all of you.