After visiting, I fell in love with Wakulla Springs. We went on a river boat tour, and I was expecting only to see trees and maybe a few gators, but I was happily surprised with many gator, baby bird, turtle and fish sightings. We also learned about the history of the area and its many different inhabitants, which was very interesting.

The next day was our first day of work. Driving through Panama City, I was shocked at the amount of destruction that still remains eight months later. When we got to the house that we were going to work on, we met our group leader and got to work right away. I spent most of the morning priming and painting boards that were to be used as trim in the house. It was a hot and tedious job, but at the end of the day, as I watched them being stapled into the wall I knew that it was a truly important job.

I think the most impactful thing to me today was when Mary, who is a local school teacher, talked to us at lunch. Mary was one of the founding members of one of the organizations we are working with, Hope Panhandle. She talked about how, when the hurricane hit, she was immediately drawn out of her home by her desire to help the community around her. This particularly inspired me because I hope to be just like her one day. I hope that if I am ever faced with a situation like this, that I act like Mary, and do what I can with what I have to provide relief and hope to my community.

– Kara Petitt