Hurricane Heroes: 4-H Teen Council

Four teens clean up in Panama City
after Hurricane Michael

Ashley Hunter
ECB Publishing, Inc.

On Saturday, October 20, four members of the Jefferson 4-H Teen Council put on their work gloves and headed to Panama City to spend the day working and moving rubble from a neighborhood in Bay County's Panama City.
The teenagers focused mainly on the home of Paula Davis, a 4-H Agent with the Bay County Extension Office, but also did some clean up work in Davis' neighborhood.
“It was very devastating,” said Sierra Montgomery, the council's assistant secretary. “It was worse there than I thought it would be.”
Sarah Crandall, the 4-H Teen Council's president, agreed.
“The devastation that we saw was unreal compared to what we've seen broadcasted on the news,” Crandall said.
According to 4-H and Extension Office Director John Lilly (who was one of the adults who accompanied the teens on their volunteer mission), the four members of the teen council left Monticello around 7 a.m., and wouldn't return home until around 6 p.m. that evening.
Aside from a few water breaks and to stop for meals, the four teenagers – Secretary Jada Mosley, Vice-President Jeremiah Norton, Montgomery and Crandall – worked tirelessly and put in a full day of service before they called it a night.
“It was nice to be able to help out and see the difference of what had happened over there and what it's like here in Jefferson,” added Montgomery.
“I'm really glad we were able to help,” began Crandall before adding that she had been especially touched by the kindness and selflessness shown by the people they assisted.
“They were so giving even though they had lost everything,” stated Crandall, saying that the 4-H youth were offered food and water by the homeowners and residents of the neighborhood. When Crandall had walked through a patch of poison ivy while cleaning up, she was offered medicinal creams to prevent a rash – medicine that might be difficult to obtain for those living in the Hurricane-torn Bay County.
“It was just amazing to witness,” Crandall added.
After spending the day in Panama City, Jada Mosley says that the trip home to Jefferson County served as a time to reflect on all that they had witnessed in the city.
“I was very grateful,” said Mosley.
Very easily, Jefferson County could have been in the position that Bay County now finds itself in, and the full realization of the extent of Hurricane Michael's devastation brought an air of gratitude to the teenaged 4-H'ers.
“They have it really tough right now,” Mosley adds. “I just really enjoyed being able to help others.”
The 4-H Teen Council helped move debris, fallen limbs, broken fences, tear down a derelict carport and move a shed during their time in Panama City.