Riding out the storm

Sophomore recalls staying behind, helping after storm


Marshall S. Braus, Writer

As a junior volunteer with the Little Cypress Fire Department, I recently got to experience Hurricane Laura from a different perspective than most. While most people in Orange County evacuated to get out of the way of the storm, I was one of the few who stayed behind.

It was that Saturday morning before the storm hit when I woke up to my mom telling me it was time to leave, to evacuate. In my mind, I wanted to stay so I could help my dad, a volunteer firefighter, and keep him safe while he stayed to ride it out. I gathered enough courage to tell my mom, “I’m not going with you; I want to stay.” And while arguing about if I could stay or not, my dad came in and said, “He can stay with me; everything will be okay,” I sighed in relief. I thanked him and we helped my mom and little brother pack up with the dogs. They left and my dad grinned a smile that I knew meant he was going to worry about me the whole time.

When we eventually got to the fire station, we had a discussion about what we were going to do, so they called to ask Mr. DuBose if it was okay to ride out the storm at the high school. “I don’t mind at all,” DuBose said. While waiting at the fire station, I couldn’t help but notice that the building was old and we could possibly come back to a collapsed fire station.

That night, my dad and I went home for the last time before the hurricane hit and started to take all the pictures down and put them into boxes. Back at the high school, my dad went to bed while I stayed up for hours thinking how crazy it was to be right in the middle of a hurricane.

When I woke up the next day, we headed to the fire station and I walked in on a conversation that they wanted me to drive my dad’s truck to the EOC, a building made to withstand harsh weather. I realized we were no longer going to the high school and all of a sudden I got nervous; I even felt like I was going to throw up. I told them I was too nervous to drive and they eventually found someone else for the job.

When we arrived to the EOC, it was crowded. We got our cots unloaded and started to hang out with everyone. As the hurricane made landfall, it started to rain and when the wind picked up we headed inside. I couldn’t help but think how cool this whole experience was. The wind was blowing so hard and the rain was coming down so fast; it felt and sounded like jets had just flown by.

When the storm was finally over, we headed out to cut and clear the roads of debris. At the end of a long day, we went to bed exhausted and woke up to go right back to work again. We worked for hours upon hours. Three days later, we finally got the job finished. Staying and helping the community during Hurricane Laura was such a cool experience and one I will definitely remember for the rest of my life.