COLUMBUS, Ga. – Evacuees are still settling into foreign territory, after they fled Florida in the hopes of escaping the predicted brunt of Hurricane Irma. News 3 spoke to one Brevard County, Fl. resident, who finally found shelter at the Columbus Civic Center more than 36 hours after coming to Columbus from Florida.
It was a simple act of kindness that led Robin Wilson on a path of positivity. Just three days ago, Wilson was sitting comfortably in her home. Not long after, Wilson heard the news that one of the most massive hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean was barreling toward the Sunshine State.
“I respected the reporting,” Wilson said. “I respected it, listened to it, evaluated my life, evaluated what I was going to be in, and tried to convince my family it was serious, and let’s go.”
Wilson left family, fiends, and precious belongings in her home, leaving well in advance of the hurricane. She says anxiety is the only thing on one’s mind when preparing to leave everything behind.
“You’re very frantic,” Wilson told News 3. Your nerves are frazzled. You don’t know if you’re making the right choices. You don’t know how it’s going to turn out. You just kind of pray to God that he guides you and you follow.”
But she says it was her faith that trumped her worry, as she sought shelter and hope.
“I trusted God I was here for a reason and I would be taken care of because I’m not in the storm anymore,” Wilson said. “I was going to be okay.”
Wilson finally arrived in Columbus around 3 Thursday morning with with just a few essentials to carry her through the week.
A few local businesses and a stranger at the time, Cindy Rowe, helped Wilson find her feet once she got to the Fountain City. Rowe even led Wilson to a long lost essential: a shower.
“You need showers, number one to rinse off the stress, number two to rinse off the dirt, and number three to refresh yourself,” Wilson said. “It’s like the reboot button on your telephone.”
Rowe tells News 3 Columbus has a tradition of giving to people in need because of the city’s military background. She says helping evacuees in a time of need should be the focus for Fountain City residents.
“She may be the first one we meet,” Rowe said. “But those roads are full of others coming. And that’s what we wanted to do. We wanted to make sure everybody was taken care of.”
As Wilson leaves her home behind, she wants those staying in Florida, and those seeking shelter, to never give up when it comes to recovery. Help can come in the strangest of places sometimes. And often, it takes a perfect storm for help to finally arrive.
“One person cared enough to make a difference,” Wilson said.