From East to West, cleanup begins in Glynn County

Areas of minor flooding could still be seen Tuesday afternoon throughout the Marshes of MacKay neighborhood.

As Stephanie Fullard added another wheelbarrow full of storm debris to a growing pile at the edge of her yard, she felt extremely blessed.

Fullard, a resident of Marshes of Mackay neighborhood in Brunswick, said Tuesday that her home had experienced little damage from Hurricane Irma. She just had to do a little cleaning up.

“We’re very, very fortunate,” she said. “We’re very blessed. I’ve heard nightmares.”

Across the street, Logan McKinney and her husband, Kevin, picked up limbs in their yard.

They’d spent a nervous night at a friend’s house in Brunswick and returned to their home Monday night to find little damage.

“We didn’t have any major damage,” she said. “Last year, we had a tree fall on our house. And then this year we didn’t have any damage. So we’re real excited about that.”

Around the neighborhood, though, evidence of strong winds was left scattered around, on homes and in the middle of the streets.

Many trees were ripped up by the roots and had toppled over — sometimes onto fences, cars, roofs and power lines.

Massive limbs had snapped off tall live oaks. A trampoline had been flipped over beside one home. Large puddles covered several yards, left over from flooding.

Fullard said she had planned to evacuate, but at the last minute she decided to stay.

“We evacuated for Matthew … and we had everything ready (this time),” she said. “We had a reservation over in Albany and then whenever (the storm) made that left turn we said, ‘Mmm we’re just going to stay right in our house.’”

Some residents who stayed home during the storm, rather than evacuate, were able to begin the cleanup efforts on Monday. They could also inform those who left about the state of home damage.

“We actually have a neighborhood Facebook page, so we’ve been keeping up with each other on our neighborhood Facebook page and checking up on everybody’s homes if they need us,” McKinney said.

On the other side of the county, Brookman community resident James Carter buzzed a chainsaw through a fallen cyprus tree as his grandson, Ian, 10, helped haul away limbs.

His home on Fish Hall Road in western Glynn County was largely spared, he said.

“If you stop and think about it, I really think (Hurricane) Matthew cleared out a lot of the trees last year,” he said.

Still, Carter, who rode out the storm in his home, admits Hurricane Irma was strong enough to do damage.

“It was really whipping those pine trees around,” he said, twirling his finger. “It was unreal.”

Without power, Carter and his family took the defrosted food from their freezer and treated themselves to a hearty meal Monday night.

“We had a steak dinner we cooked on the grill,” he said with a laugh. “So I guess it’s not all bad.”

Down the road from Carter’s home, his neighbor, James Mikell, was a bit more somber. The owner of 197 acres sat atop his hulking orange tractor as he moved debris from his cattle pastures.

“The fences were destroyed,” he said. “I had extensive damage. I’ve got a 400-year-old oak down in my garden, and another tree fell on the syrup-boil shed.”

Still, the damage is better than it was in Matthew, when a tree fell on Mikell’s 200-year-old barn.

“It took six months to rebuild,” he said.

Despite the strong winds, rain and falling trees, Mikell, who stayed alone in his home through Irma, said he was not afraid.

“I don’t get frightened,” the Korean War veteran said. “No, not a lot frightens me anymore.”