What It's Like to See Your Hometown Devastated

Uploaded 10/14/18 by JVL with permission of Scott Ammons

After Hurricane Florence devastated the Carolinas (North and South), Hurricane Michael kind of snuck in there, at least to those of us watching from the national news. For Scott Ammons, a native of Bristol, FL (a rural area between Tallahassee and Pensacola), who kept his eye on the news from the first rumblings of a potential hurricane, it was different. Though his job had taken him to southern California, his mom was still in Bristol – and so was his heart.


Ammons flew into Orlando as the hurricane was making its way up Florida’s Gulf Coast. Because of Ammons’ law enforcement career and his membership in the LDS (Mormon) Church, he was well-versed on emergency procedures. He’d prearranged a plan with his mother in case they couldn’t reach each other via cell phone – which became necessary. Ammons had jokingly asked on Facebook what the weather would be like in northwestern Florida if he flew in Wednesday, but was all business after he landed:

He flew into Orlando as the hurricane was passing, loaded a rental car with canned food, and headed north. The drive that would normally take four or so hours took 10 hours, and he ruined a rental car getting to his mom. Immediately, though, they wanted to help others.

“If you need water for toilets, please use our pond. I know some of you are going to the river to draw you water and that’s probably not very safe. I also have portable phone chargers and a car charger if you know of anyone who needs to charge a phone. I have seen some people asking for food and I have a few cans of soup that I can share and a few pop tarts until help arrives for any who were either unprepared or underprepared. I think that a Wal-Mart has opened in Tallahassee and I heard that a food store has also opened in Blountstown…”

By the next day, Ammons was heading to Tallahassee to get baby formula for new moms…

… and checking on other neighbors:

The caption reads:


“Just got off the phone with this man, his name is Ron. He and his wife are stuck behind this with no other way out and the address is 2540 HWY 73 in Marianna. The power company told him to NOT touch these trees until they let him know it’s clear. Once it is ok to begin work to clean them a path we will need a lot of chainsaws on this property. Please add this to your list of places to cut. Jackson sheriffs office and national guard is aware of their situation. The phone number he painted on the road is a good number if you want to check on them.”

By Sunday, Ammons was still searching for baby formula:

But at some point it all hits you emotionally, as Ammons captured poignantly.


Ammons will remain in the area for a time as his family and community recover.

UPDATE: Monday, 8 a.m. Pacific time. Ammons is now off baby formula search duty, and concentrating on helping his family recover.




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