Flagler students help with post-Hurricane Irma recovery efforts
On Sept. 11, the morning after Hurricane Irma struck, Paige Armstrong awoke with a sense of déjà vu. The president of Flagler College Volunteers had just lived a similar day less than a year ago when Hurricane Matthew unleashed its fury on St. Augustine. And now, after evacuating to Orlando, she was faced with returning to her community again to help people get back on their feet.
“It was nerve-wracking and emotionally-taxing,” she said.
Armstrong, who had worked with other Flagler organizations last year to aid in recovery efforts, sprang into action once again. “The first thing I did was contact about 15 of our non-profit partners in St. Augustine. We were trying to figure out what the community needed and were anxious to get back to town.”
Armstrong learned from Student Government Association President Colton Neubauer that City Commissioner Todd Neville was leading a door-to-door campaign to assess property damage and critical needs. Armstrong and Neubauer were eager to help and rounded up Flagler students to walk the debris-filled streets to document damage and distribute hurricane recovery handouts to area residents.
“What I have learned is that people are still very much invested in helping others,” Armstrong said. “There is no less desire than there was last year. In times of hardship, people come together.”
On Sunday, FCV will hold a “Community Clean-up Day.” Interested volunteers should meet in Flagler’s Breezeway by 9 a.m., where they will be divided into groups and head out to the communities of Lincolnville, Vilano Beach and St. Augustine Beach.