AFSCME Members Come Together for Hurricane Recovery

AFSCME Florida Members Come Together for Hurricane Recovery

When Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle on October 11, it was the worst storm that area had seen in a hundred years. The extent of the damage and cost to rebuild will be in the tens of billions of dollars; the toll it has taken on the lives of those impacted can’t be measured.  

Much of the panhandle is still without power and many are unable to return to their homes. The experience was summed up by Safonda Davis, training specialist at Florida State Hospital and member of Local 1963. Upon returning to work after the storm, Davis said: “I didn’t even know where I was. Certain spots were just cleared out.” The tree that had stood outside her office, now blown down, has become a symbol to her. “Everything is uprooted. Nothing is the same again. My co-workers have lost everything, down to a change of clothes to put on.” 

AFSCME members have been on the front lines of relief efforts since day one working tirelessly during and after the storm to serve their communities. Among them is Teresa Ellis, Human Services Councilor at the Sunland Developmental Disability Center who worked 24/7 in the days  leading up to and after the storm making sure patients were safe and cared for.  “This has been absolutely devastating for all of us,” Ellis said, “but with the help of our union, we are pulling together. We are AFSCME STRONG.”

Teresa was one of the 800 employees at Sunland and the State Hospital in Chatahoochee who received free hot lunches this week as AFSCME Florida members from across the panhandle came together to assist employees at both facilities still feeling the impacts of the storm. 

As stories continue to emerge from the Florida Panhandle about how AFSCME members have suffered and served during and after Hurricane Michael, you can do something now.

Please consider donating to the Florida Workers Relief Fund.