Washington County recognizes Santa Rosa hurricane help

Ramon Rios | @RamonrSrpg | 850-623-2120 | rrios@srpressgazette.com
Washington and Santa Rosa county officials and employees pose for a group picture. A flag was presented to the BOCC in appreciation for the assistance Santa Rosa County provided after hurricane Michael. [Ramon Rios\SRPG]

MILTON — Following Hurricane Michael’s devastating Oct. 10 landfall near Mexico Beach, the Santa Rosa County Emergency Operations Department, like other municipalities and organizations, sent aid to affected areas, primarily Washington County. Brad Baker, director of Emergency Management for Santa Rosa County started the Nov. 5, commissioners meeting with an update on relief efforts there.

Baker led the Emergency Management Team from the county that went to help after Hurricane Michael hit the Panama City area.

The county sent 23 public works employees along with equipment to Washington County shortly after the hurricane's landfall. Two public works employees and equipment from the city of Milton augmented that group.

Baker said various local fire departments contributed to the effort as well. Those include Pace Fire Rescue, City of Milton Fire department, Gulf Breeze Fire Department, Navarre Beach Fire Rescue, Midway Fire District and Allentown Volunteer Fire Department.

The county Emergency Management Team is made up of Baker, public information officer Brandi Whitehurst, emergency management operations chief Tom Lloyd and administrative services manager Tammy Simmons.

Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office also sent aid in the form of 17 deputies. Most of them went to Washington County but a few went to Bay, Baker said. As of Sunday there were still SRSO deputies providing service in Lynn Haven, according to Baker. Two dispatchers each traveled toBay and Calhoun Counties.

In addition, 12 county property appraisers went to work in Bay County to perform damage assessments. Through their work and ability to review damage from the air, the appraisers have tallied, up to Oct. 30, $303 million in damages, Baker said.

Santa Rosa County Animal Services put together a pet food drive.

"The citizens of Santa Rosa County donated two truck loads of dog and cat food," Baker said. They were able to distribute the pet food to Washington County and a rescue group in Jackson County.

"It was a team effort," Baker said.

Baker then introduced public safety director Lynne Abel and District 3 Commissioner Tray Hawkins, both of Washington County.

"I want to express our sincere appreciation for Santa Rosa County's support during Hurricane Michael," Hawkins said. "It is with great humility and heart-felt gratitude that the Washington Board of Commissioners present this flag, flown over our EOC during the storm to the Santa Rosa Board of County Commissioners.