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Hurricane Jeanne Photo Galleries by Florida Today

Hurricane Relief Donations

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Paintballers Aid Florida
By Bill Mills - Sept 2004
Photos By Dawn Mills

After nearly 10 years since the region suffered a major hurricane, two devastating storms struck the spacecoast and treasure coast regions of Florida (so named for the Kennedy Space Center at the north, and a shipwrecked Spanish treasure fleet from 1715 on the beaches in the south.)  While residents of the region were still in the process of recovering from Hurricane Frances, Hurricane Jeanne paid them a visit.  

Many went (and still are at this time) without telephone, electricity, or running water in their homes, for days or even weeks.  For a region where many draw water not from a city water supply, but from their own wells, the loss of electrical power means the loss of running water for drinking, cleaning and operating toilets.

Relief agencies from around the United States have been providing support, as have those living in the area.  For area paintball players, their first thought was not about repairing the city’s municipal paintball park, but rather to helping their neighbors.  The staff from Hurricane Paintball Park in Palm Bay, Florida, as well as volunteer referees, park regulars and members of the scenario paintball team Rogue Warriors pitched in to assist in the efforts to distribute emergency supplies to those in need.

In cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA,) the American Red Cross, and Salvation Army these volunteers distributed bottled drinking water, bagged ice, and tarps for temporary shelter.

On Monday morning after Jeanne passed, FEMA and the associated agencies set up a distribution point in the parking lot of the Publix shopping center at Palm Bay road and Minton Road in Palm Bay, Florida distributing emergency supplies to those in need.  

Unfortunately the following morning, Palm Bay Police escorted the volunteers and relief workers off the property before they could get started, stating that Publix management had not granted them permission to use the parking lot as a distribution center.  For the day, these supplies were unavailable within the city, and were re-routed to the neighboring city of Melbourne.  

Undaunted, the relief crews set up shop the next day on the campus of Brevard Community College and the paintballers worked side by side with the relief agencies in passing out needed supplies, while wearing Hurricane Paintball t-shirts and making an effort to expand goodwill within the area. 

Many in the area are merely facing the inconvenience of no power or water in homes that are undamaged, while others are affecting repairs, and still others have been rendered homeless.  While Florida’s east coast residents continue the lengthy recovery process, the distribution of much needed emergency supplies has been a huge help to them, as basic services are still being restored.

The staff of would like to extend our prayers and concerns for our neighbors and friends going through this difficult season, as well as to thank the relief agencies, national guard, local and Kissimmee Police, local and out of state electrical and telephone workers who have come to our aid.  We appreciate the e-mails and phone messages of concern we have received.  We have weathered  the storms with only minor inconveniences.  Living without electrical power, and limted and less than reliable means of communication over most of the month of September we have seen amazing support and a strengthened sense of community amongst our neighbors.  Little can promote bonding better than building storm shutters for someone who is unable, or stopping in to check that they are OK when the flood waters are half way up their front yard.

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