Florida evacuees head back home - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Florida evacuees head back home

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August 14, 2004

Tifton -- Hundreds of Florida evacuees that took refuge in South Georgia cities headed home Saturday. Many returning home are uncertain about what they will find.

Hotel rooms are empty and once filled parking lots are now barren. As quickly as Florida evacuees poured into Tifton, they're now heading back home.

"We are going to try to head back as long as interstate 75 is open, and it's not too bad," says Chad Robinson who evacuated from Orlando, Florida on Friday.

Chad Robinson's family , from Orlando, is prepared to leave. They have been in Tifton since Friday afternoon, and they'll leave with good things to say about South Georgia.

"The people here are so hospitable. We stopped in a restaurant last night, Matt's Catfish House, and they went some much more out of their way than what we are used to. They called and found us a place to stay because all the rooms were packed, and they filled us up with food," says Jane Rouse.

This family considers themselves lucky, their community in Orlando wasn't hit too hard by Charley. Still, they fear the worst for what they will find back home.

"We could have trees down, we could have windows blown out and we could have friends and family in a bad situation. It's really scary to come back and think about that," says Jane Rouse. That's why they are glad they evacuated when they did, holding tight to the things most important.

"Your personal property is replaceable, but your friends and family aren't," says Robinson.

And now as the family prepares to leave, they're happy they still have a home to go to and glad they visited a place like home, miles away from their own.

posted at 6:16PM by scott.hunter@walb.com