Courtesy: Brian Haddad
To the swim community:
Two weeks ago, Panama City, Florida and the surrounding area were hit by one of the strongest Hurricanes to ever make landfall on the United States. Hurricane Michael left a terrible path of destruction to our community and we will be recovering for some time. However, the panhandle of Florida is full of great and strong people and we will rebuild. Panama City Swim Team, Seals Swim Club, and the area High School programs have many members with massive property loss and damage. Many of them are in temporary housing such as all of our families who were stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base. Schools will not reopen until early to mid-November. None of our facilities appear to have too much actual damage, however without having full power or water restoration, they are unavailable for swimming. The major pool in our area at Frank Brown Park is undamaged and ready to go, however that is the major staging area for all of the power companies and is unavailable for swimming until they are able to move to another location. We hope it will be available for swimming very soon.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many members of the swim community who have reached out to us in this time of need. Being in a vacation area, we have been privileged to host swimmers from many of your teams and we have heard from so many of them in the past two weeks. We view them as a part of our team as much as our residents. We have been blessed with many offers of supplies from essentials to clothing and swim gear and everything in between. These supplies are being distributed to our families and they are much appreciated. Your support means more to our area than you know. Additionally, many of our swimmers have been displaced across the Southeast and have been graciously welcomed into swim programs at every stop. This has given the swimmers a sense of normalcy during this disaster and given parents valuable time to work on discussions with their insurance companies, etc.. I also want to thank Coast Aquatics in the Destin/Ft. Walton Beach area of Florida for allowing our swimmers to train at their pool while we repair our facilities. Teams from all across the country have contacted us with their support. The swim family is truly a great one.
Many people have asked how they can help. We have set up a Go Fund Me page to help make sure that no swimmer has to leave the sport due to the financial strain that this storm will cause over the next several months. We have suspended dues for our members and are still able to keep our employees earning a much needed paycheck during this time. We can also still use supplies such as food, water, cleaning supplies, clothing and blankets, swim gear, gift cards to places like Target and Walmart, and school supplies. These supplies will be distributed to all USA Swimming members from PCST and SEALS as well as area High School, Middle School, and Summer programs.
Link for GoFundMe page: www.gofundme.com/pcst- adoptaswimmer
If you would like to send supplies, or would like to contact me about anything, send an e-mail to Coach Brian Haddad at [email protected]
Thanks again to all who have been so helpful to us in our time of need. We hope to see you at swim meets in the near future,
Panama City Swim Team