Columbia County family says Islamorada is second home, collect supplies to take to friends in The Florida Keys

Picture Courtesy: Martha Smith.

MARTINEZ, Ga. (WJBF) – The road to recovery from the destruction of Hurricane Irma is a long one for the Sunshine State.

A local family is gearing up to head South with supplies for their friends and family in The Keys.

“It’s like a war zone down there,” said Mike Smith.

Islamorada, Florida is a second home for Mike Smith and his family.

They’ve spent countless family vacations there soaking up the sun and enjoying days out on the boat.

The catastrophic hurricane had no mercy on The Florida Keys and the destruction has been a hard pill to swallow.

“Seeing the images at first was so hard, because you see this wind blowing and you see these places that you’ve made so many memories in.” Martha Smith, Mike’s daughter, told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

Smith was in Florida, last week, helping friends board up their homes and shield their boats, but that wasn’t enough.

So, through Facebook the family asked for donations to take back to the Sunshine State.

“What are some of the things they are asking for down there?” Asked NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.

“Truthfully rum,” Mike Smith said.

“A lot of them said that they would like alcohol,” said Martha Smith. “I mean, they did just lose their livelihood and their homes, so you know I kind of agree with them. I would want a beer too.”

“On a serious side they need shovels. One of the weirdest things, I got, that everybody needs is tire plug kits, because everybody is popping their tires from all the scraps on the roads,” Mike Smith told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

From water, to charcoal, beer and everything in between has been collected by the kind donations from strangers just wanting to lend a helping hand.

“We had a lady that gave us her birthday money,” said Mike Smith.

Smith says he’s making his way South, with enough food to feed 50 people breakfast, lunch and dinner for 4 days.

“Come one, come all. Doesn’t matter who comes,” Mike Smith told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

Still, the family says they worry about friends on Islamorada, because many of them rely on tourism to make a living. Specifically their longtime friend whose livelihood depends on his sport fishing business.

“I think his biggest worry is when is it going to be back to me doing business, when are people going to trust that we are back to normal and everything is okay.” Martha Smith said.

“The Keys people, the Conch people, are very resilient. They come back, it’s not their first rodeo with a hurricane.” Mike Smith said.

You still have time to make a donation, just stop by their office at 4011 Enterprise Court in Martinez or at Aquinas High School.

They are collecting items until Sat., Sept. 16th, 2017 at 2:30 p.m.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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