Hurricanes Hit Close to Home

Courtesy of Kennedy Purcey

Surrounded by over 20 percent of the world’s freshwater, Michigan is fortunate to not have to worry about hurricanes. Senior Kennedy Purcey and junior Jenna Bailey were attentive to Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, not because they were physically close to the storms, but because their families were in the hurricanes’ destructive paths.


“During a hurricane, you keep constant contact,” Bailey said. In hourly updates, the family kept in touch with Bailey’s brother, Jake, and three nephews, ages 8, 4, and 3, who live in Florida. Jake Bailey works at a nursing home, and had to stay with the residents during the recent storms.


“The thing that people don’t realize is, not only are disabled people stuck, the people that take care of them are stuck there too,” Bailey said about her brother’s occupation.


Grandparents Bob and Judy Vanderzwart have a trailer in Florida which Bailey describes with awe as the only trailer not destroyed by the hurricane in their community. She viewed this through images sent by friends and neighbors to her grandparents who were here in Michigan. Although her grandparents were elated, they felt sorrow for their neighbors who were not so lucky, Bailey said.


Senior Kennedy Purcey, whose mom also lives in Florida, paints a picture of the empty shelves at the grocery store as described by her mom.


“There was no water, milk, or fresh produce,” Purcey also was awestruck as she described the photos of houses where the only thing remaining was the open basement, no roof or walls.  


“It’s not really livable,” Purcey said.

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