"... look for the helpers."


They’re saying St Johns County is facing upwards of $2,000,000,000 (with a B) in damages from Hurricane Matthew. Nestled very insignificantly somewhere in all those depressing zeros is our own family home in St Augustine Beach that, for the better part of Friday evening, graciously hosted a couple feet of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a mess, there was damage but in the grand scheme, we were lucky. It wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. Many fared worse. Some, much worse.

Then, it was over. Losing a workday to mandatory bridge closure on Saturday, the job ahead of us for Sunday, to begin the process of getting the house back in order, was a full one… and it stunk like a low tide. For those who’ve never dealt with the aftermath of a flood inside your home- and in particular, a seawater flood- nothing completely escapes. Between the chaos of floodwaters moving and knocking things about, the total loss of carpets and belongings, the damage to walls and cabinets and sockets and rugs and appliances and everything else, it’s a whole lot of moving, of throwing away, of hasty executive decisions about what can be saved, what can’t and mourning the loss of things you wish you had put in a bit more effort to keep out of harms way.

Two librarians, a UF administrator from Gainesville and a varsity wrestler from St Augustine High School were our saviors today. The ones who came to help. The people who got down on their knees and scrubbed. The ones who lifted and rinsed, washed, carried and worked awfully hard in the midday Florida sun for the benefit of a family in St Augustine Beach who, prior to that day, they had never met before.

We learned later that Dominic Anderson, the SAHS Wrestler who responded to the call for help- and worked relentlessly as our go-to guy for tasks involving heavy lifting- himself lived in a North Vilano home that suffered significant damage. Perhaps worse than ours. He had some time before their own cleanup got underway, so he came to help us. And Dominic worked. Hard.

Dominic Andersen St Augustine FL

Dominic Anderson St Augustine FL

Angela Hassebroek, Rachelle Mason and Brittany Moore, all from Gainesville, saw the random Facebook message seeking help and drove out… from Gainesville. They saw a post on the internet made by someone they did not know and drove- FROM GAINESVILLE- to spend the better part of a day laboring for no pay and with no expectation of any monetary reward. Angela, Rachelle and Brittany worked. Hard.


Three Angels

We live in a world that gives entirely too much earspace to pundits, consultants, theorists, academics, critics, complainers and blowhards whose only investment into anything isn’t much more than their own cheap talk. We endure a lot of this inane prattle whenever a hurricane comes. That ‘actions speak louder than words’ is by no means a novel observation but seeing the distinction in real life,  embodied by real faces, real people, denominated not just in words but in sweat and time, is something that gives you pause when evaluating what really matters.

Sometimes, all we can do is send prayers, maybe a donation, maybe just good vibes. The world’s a big place with a lot of chaos, we just can’t fix it all. Other times, though, the opportunity to actually do something presents itself and here is where a line is drawn. Wearing the work gloves, carrying the shovels, handing out the supplies is where you will find the men and women of a particular distinction. They’re an entirely different species than those whose sense of involvement tops out at signing an online petition or posting something to a Facebook wall.

We offer our deepest and sincerest thanks to those people out there doing the work in our community this week.

You are rare. You are special and you are very much noticed.

STAStrong Rocks Our World!!


STAStrong group help in St Augustine Beach! photo: 2016

  • L. Morgan
  • For StAugustineBeach.org

To See More Visit: HELPERS