Family faces tough decisions in aftermath of hurricane

Wilson Sanchez's mobile home in Marianna was badly damaged during Hurricane Michael.
Photo submitted by Samuel Barnes

MARIANNA – A Marianna man is trying to figure out what is next for him and his family after Hurricane Michael badly damaged their home.

Wilson Sanchez and his family evacuated their home here in the Cala Mobile Home Park on Oct. 9, the day before the hurricane battered much of the Panhandle.  They went to stay with family in Orlando. From his family member’s house, Sanchez monitored the development of the storm by watching CNN and following updates concerning the storm on his phone.

When the hurricane hit Jackson County, it had been downgraded to a Category 3 storm and was producing winds of 130 mph.

“I believed I was going to lose everything. I didn’t think my mobile home was going to survive. I thank the lord my house was still standing after the storm,” said Sanchez.

 Sanchez was in Orlando for four days while interstate 10 was closed because of downed trees. He contacted his landlord in Marianna while in Orlando, who let him know his house was still standing but power was out and the house did take some damage.

When he returned home, his house was almost unrecognizable. Like the rest of the mobile home community, Sanchez has picked up everything that was blown off the house and placed it in the dumpster for pickup. The home sustained no water damage but lost shingles, siding, and the house skirt. The greenhouse Sanchez built for his plants was also destroyed.

Knowing he would not be returning to electricity, Sanchez purchased a generator in Orlando to help his family get by until the power is restored to the Cala Mobile Home Community.

Sanchez’s youngest son is a junior at Marianna High School, and MHS will not reopen until Oct. 27.

“When I was leaving town, I thought about two things. Nothing can happen, or a lot could happen in a short period of time. Marianna has been in some pretty bad storms, but this storm is in a class by itself,” said Jan Sanchez, Sanchez’s youngest son.

The mobile home park is still without power, and the area is like a ghost town at night. Since electricity has not been restored for the stores in Jackson County, Sanchez and other residents are commuting back and forth from neighboring states to get the resources they need.