Local man helps with hurricane relief effort
David Bothe, the Burleson man who collected items for the relief of Hurricane Micheal victims in Florida, has completed his first trip and has distributed the items.
Bothe ventured out to Panama City, Florida, with a truck full of clothing and other items in late November. After the over 12-hours and 800 miles long journey, last week, Bothe delivered all the collected items to the Bay County School District, where about 14,000 students were displaced due to the hurricane.
“My heart goes out to them,” Bothe said from Florida. “I don’t know what they are going to do. I don’t know what the government is doing; trying to get FEMA trailers down here and getting people in those things? I don’t know. So, everybody needs to do what they can.”
The Category 4 Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida’s Panhandle on Oct. 10. With maximum sustained winds of 155 mph, Hurricane Michael is the third most intense hurricane to hit the continental United States.
Even after nearly two months, the devastation is widespread across many parts of the state. Florida Office of Insurance Regulation estimated insured losses caused by the hurricane to be over $4 billion.
“This is getting to be a pretty ugly situation down here,” Bothe said. “I don’t think people really understand how bad it is. It’s going to be a humanitarian crisis down here.”
Bothe works as a licensed insurance adjuster. He will be staying in Florida for at least a year. He plans to head back home every other month and transport as many donated items as he can every time goes back to Florida.
When he arrived at his Panama City place last week, he met a couple who lost everything to the hurricane. With Christmas coming, they had little to give to their children.
So, Bothe offered the couple to live with him and also gave some clothes he brought from Burleson.
“I know they needed clothes as much as anybody else does. They’ve got children that need clothes. So, they went through a bunch of them and they took some,” Bothe said. “You know, they are very pleased and happy. And I was glad I got to do that.”
For the Christmas holiday, Bothe will come back home, where his neighbors, families and friends have already prepared other bags of donated items to be taken for distribution.
“This just goes to show how big of a heart Texans have and they are very, very generous,” Bothe said. “They are willing to help anybody. It makes me proud.”