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Panhandle Kids Are #PanhandleStrong: Florida State Athletes Affected By Hurricane Michael

Panhandle Kids Are #PanhandleStrong: Florida State Athletes Affected By Hurricane Michael
Posted at 11:20 PM, Oct 17, 2018
and last updated 2019-10-02 09:43:08-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fl. (WTXL) - "It really looked like somebody dropped a nuclear bomb on us," said Florida State redshirt sophomore Janarius Robinson about his hometown of Panama City after seeing the devastation from Hurricane Michael. "Everything's destroyed from buildings to schools to houses, churches. Everything like that. If you didn't know where you were, you wouldn't know it, because nothing looks the same."

For Robinson, nothing will ever be the same either.

"Something you've always lived in and grew up in, taken away from you, it's going to be hard," he said.

The house Robinson, and his mother, grew up in is gone, and Robinson, not the only Seminole affected by the storm. Taylor Hallmon, a junior on the Seminole soccer team, is also from Panama City.

"My house, all the windows are blown in, my dock is destroyed, there's no trees left in my yard, there's a bunch of water damage inside the house," she said. "Compared to a lot of others, it did okay."

"We're Panhandle kids, so we know each other," said Trent Forrest, a junior guard on the Florida State men's basketball team. "It's sad to see what their families have to go through."

Forrest grew up an hour north of Panama City in Chipley, and while his house was safe from the storm, he knows things are forever changed.

"I know those places. I've been there. I've seen these things," he said. "Now when I go back home, it won't be the same. Things that were there won't be there anymore."

"I don't think that place will ever be the same," said Hallmon. "I think back on all my childhood memories, and that I didn't know that'd be the last time I'd go back to all those restaurants and all those streets and that my families houses will never look the same. It's just really devastating."

Devastating, but the people of the Emerald and Forgotten Coasts have coined a new mantra - Panhandle Strong.

"It's just good to see you have Chipley, Panama, Marianna, all the surrounding areas all coming together to help each other out," said Forrest. "I feel like that's one of the good things coming out of it."

"It feels good knowing that I have the love and support that can help get through this tough time in my life," said Robinson. "My teammates care about me and and also care about other people affected by the storm as well."

Love and support, which are two things that for these Panhandle kids, will always be the same. Florida A&M lineman Zach Saffold is from Panama City as well, and his grandmother lost her house in the storm.