When you think about September and October, your thoughts probably go toward football, leaves changing or the cooler weather that will eventually arrive. Unfortunately for the Golden Isles, those two months for the past two years bring something else to mind — hurricanes.

In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew became the first major hurricane to batter the Isles in decades. The wait wasn’t that long for the next one as Hurricane Irma pushed its way up Florida’s west coast the following year. The storm was so massive that even though it didn’t directly hit us, we felt its impact almost as bad as Matthew.

Though nobody wants to be in the path of a hurricane, the storms and their aftermath revealed a lot about the character of our residents. There was no shortage of people pitching in to clear debris, help remove downed trees or clean up a neighbor’s yard. The workers and volunteers were supported by others providing hot meals and cold drinks.

Our little dot on the Atlantic has been lucky so far this hurricane season. The area dodged a massive storm with Hurricane Florence making landfall in the Carolinas on Friday. Florence’s affects on the Isles will be minimal. Unfortunately for our northern neighbors, they will not be so lucky.

If you’ve taken a stroll in the Pier Village on St. Simons Island, you’ve probably noticed a lot of car tags from North and South Carolina. Instead of going through an evacuation, the Golden Isles is serving as a temporary home for evacuees. We want to extend a warm welcome to our guests and hope that in some way, we can help alleviate what is without doubt a stressful situation.

We also encourage everyone in the Isles to help out our neighbors in any way you can. There are several businesses and groups in the area who are taking donations of food, water and other items that residents will need when they return home. If you are going to Shrimp & Grits this weekend on Jekyll, be on the lookout for several ways you can give back.

The past two years have been a harsh reminder of the devastation a storm like Florence can bring. We can — and should — pray for the well-being of life and property within the storm’s path. But we should also put those prayers into action by doing everything within our power to help our neighbors get their lives back to normal after the storm passes.

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