Georgiana, McKenzie begin recovery

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 22, 2004

When Hurricane Ivan blew through Thursday almost everyone in Butler County felt the impact.

Now comes the hard part. Clean up efforts have been launched all over the county and in most cases have seen fast results. However, there is still a lot to be done.

In the south Butler County communities of Georgiana and McKenzie, the recovery for citizens as well as power companies has taken an effort.


Mayor Betty Stinson said Monday people had truly answered the call to chip in and help their neighbors.

&uot;Our people have been wonderful,&uot; Stinson said. &uot;They have come out with their tractors, trucks and power saws. They had the streets cleared by the time it got dark on Thursday. They really came out and assisted the other people that needed it.&uot;

Some people, such as LaVaughn Skipper and his sons, were out as quickly as Ivan passed to make roads passable again. Stinson said there were too many people to thank individually, but she was grateful to them all.

&uot;We appreciate the help we got from everybody that chipped in,&uot; Stinson said. &uot;We thank every person that came out and helped clear our streets with their tractors, trucks and chainsaws. As always the people of McKenzie have risen to the cause.&uot;

Stinson said aside form the loss of power, the people of McKenzie have persevered quite well. Through the entire ordeal the town was able to keep their water supply making things a lot easier. Stinson credited this to preparation.

&uot;We’re survivors down here,&uot; Stinson said. &uot;We always try to prepare. We bought a generator when Opal came through and we had our water back well before the power came on. That generator is ready at all times.&uot;

While the generator was a huge help, Stinson said the town got aid from a much higher source.

&uot;God’s hand of protection was over our little town,&uot; said Stinson. &uot;Not a life was lost, no one was injured and not too much structural damage was done.&uot;

Stinson said the elderly community of McKenzie was still a concern. She hoped power could be restored to them as soon as possible to make their lives more comfortable.

&uot;My concern now is for the people in the apartments,&uot; Stinson said. &uot;They need a little more help than some of the others and we hope to get that help to them as soon as we can.&uot;

In Georgiana, recovery has encountered some speed bumps. City Clerk Barbara Clem said problems have come up to set recovery back somewhat.

&uot;We can’t do much right now,&uot; said Clem. &uot;We have a broken water main and a pump that is not working. The clean up has kind of been placed on the back burner, but we are getting a little at a time done.&uot;

Clem said like McKenzie, Georgiana has had a great deal of help through the tough times.

&uot;Woodland Specialists have volunteered to help along with a lot of individuals with their own trucks and chain saws. They have all helped out a lot.&uot;

For both areas the recovery effort has become a community project. While it was unknown exactly when power would be restored to the areas the people are optimistic that the lights will be back on by the end of the week.