Hurricane Michael made landfall in Panama City, FL, and the surrounding area, causing destruction and devastation. The Master Restoration team immediately put ourselves on the front line of supporting the affected communities. Through offering storm damage clean up and water damage restoration, we were on a mission to live out our core value of servant leadership.
In the restoration business, we are used to seeing the aftermath of natural disasters and difficult circumstances, but this experience left us without words. When we arrived, we noticed how every tree bent in half towards the sea. That meant the winds blew from north to south, as Hurricane Michael moved from south to northeast. If you aren’t familiar with the anatomy of a hurricane, that means the area received the worst winds the hurricane had to offer. With those winds came unimaginable, mass destruction.
It’s difficult to fully communicate the devastation and grief left in the wake of Hurricane Michael. We had a unique opportunity in this community. We were there to restore damaged property, but we were also there to bring comfort and hope to those whose lives had been forever changed by the storm. We could breathe new life into tragedy, and help make a positive impact on each person we met.
Our website is full of emergency preparation tips and safety information. These things are critical. Yet, it is also equally important for our team to provide servant leadership to those who trust us with their cleanup and restoration process.
What Servant Leadership Looks Like
As our team drove into Panama Beach, we had to brace ourselves for what we were about to experience. We don’t ever want to become complacent or “used to” seeing homes, businesses, and lives destroyed. There is so much at stake for the people who need our services. As servant leaders, we want to be a brave, strong, and encouraging presence–a juxtaposition to their fears, loss, and suffering.
With no power in Panama City―meaning no gas, no food, no charging devices―we had to be flexible in our approach to service. We would need to leave the city limits in order to regroup and refuel for each day. Our team courageously pushed through any and every circumstance, because, at the end of the day, we still had “creature comforts” that many of the people in the area did not. We were there to serve them and give them back what they lost.
Trust is the key to every relationship. After a disaster, our team sees ourselves as first responders. Stepping into the situation after the hurricane, people felt vulnerable and uncertain about their future due to devastation and loss. From the start, we aimed to establish trust and to assure our customers that we are there to serve and care for them. We got to work immediately, preparing to start the restoration process and eliminate any stress we could. Every phase of each project had to be completed properly. No shortcuts. We quickly started coordinating the entire restoration process, planning and executing everything from cleanup to repairs, all the way to filing insurance claims.
When we approach our work, we always try to put ourselves in the position of those we are serving. Empathy requires feeling and thinking like the people who are in the circumstances. As we talked with people after Hurricane Michael, we took time to reflect on their personal items and the stories they shared with us. Bikes, decor, stuffed animals, furniture, these things aren’t just property. They are memories. We do our best to save whatever we can for them through our content restoration services.
When we are meeting with clients, we have to consider their emotional state. These are human beings who need our team to be sensitive to the trauma they have experienced. Even though we have seen a lot of damage and destruction in our line of work, we have no idea what each individual client is feeling, thinking, or experiencing. Our Hurricane Michael clients were no different. We created space for them to open themselves up to us as they need. We wanted them to know that we care about them as people. Their belongings and property are important to us because those things are important to them. Sometimes our job is simply sitting and listening. Being around our clients reminded us that we are humans who love and serve other humans.
The cleanup and restoration process from Hurricane Michael will take time and patience. This is not a job where we come in and quickly leave. Master Restoration is honored that we can continue to be part of making positive changes in the lives of people who were impacted by the storm. Our goal, as always, is to leave things better than they were before.
View our post on Preparing for Hurricanes.