Safe havens close, Irma evacuees head home - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Safe havens close, Irma evacuees head home

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) -

Thousands of evacuees are making the trip back to Florida to see what Irma left of their homes.

Many found refuge at Westgate Church of Christ as they waited out the storm. The church housed over 70 evacuees, according to Lead Minister Chris Jones. But now that the storm is over, there is an uneasiness about returning home.

"I guess the apprehension is building about what we will return to and what I'll find at home," said Susan Grado.

She anticipates some damage to her newly built fence and flooding in her home.

"Seeing what happened to other people's homes, I don't know what I'm in store," said Jadon Grado.

They'll spend one more night in Dothan at a hotel before heading back to Tampa Bay.

For others who hunkered down at Westgate, they are starting over some place new. 

"They got me a greyhound bus ticket up to my brother's house in New York," said David Moore.

He says he was homeless in Florida before the storm.

"We have another family that's going to move to Dothan now because they've lost things and they have nothing to go back to," said Chris Jones, Lead Minister.

Jones says the church is working to get the family of four a place to live and jobs. They'll stay with a church member until they get on their feet.

The circumstances that brought together strangers were unfortunate, but time spent hunkering down together made the goodbyes bittersweet. 

"We were melancholy as they were leaving because you grow to love these people," said Jones.

"The children here had so much fun. She went up to her mommy and said can we have a hurricane next year," said Moore.

As the last of the evacuees pack up, many agree they're heading home a little different - touched by the kindness of strangers.

"It feels really good," said Micah Grado.

"I've always had the tendency to help people, but it makes me want to help people that much more because what people have done for me," said Moore.

Copyright 2017 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved. 

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