‘Face of Seminole Co. is changed forever’: Family, first responders reflect 6 months after Hurricane Michael

Death Seminole Co. During Michael FOLO

SEMINOLE CO., GA (WALB) - Some would say it’s a miracle that not many injuries were reported after Hurricane Michael.

But the storm did take the life of an 11-year-old girl in Seminole County while she was visiting her grandparents’ home.

Hurricane Michael took a lot of things from Gene Radney’s home.

“Today makes six months and I cry everyday,” said Radney.

When the storm’s wind speeds picked up a wooden post that flew through the roof of his home, it took something he couldn’t replace.

“I didn’t even know she got hit, until my wife told me to check Sarah, and when I found her she was dead,” Radney explained.

Sarah Radney. (Source: Roy Radney)
Sarah Radney. (Source: Roy Radney)

He was just steps away from his 11-year-old granddaughter Sarah Radney when she died.

“Soon as she sat down every thing exploded, it sounded like a bomb went off,” he said.

At the back of the house he showed us what he believes could’ve happened.

“The projectile came from the other side of the boat came through the roof, right towards my granddaughter,” he said. “I don’t know why God took her, when I was in front of the window and she wasn’t.”

Gene Radney. (Source: WALB)
Gene Radney. (Source: WALB)

Sarah’s father said the family is coming to terms with his daughter’s death, but it feels like it was just yesterday when they lost her.

“Some days are better than others and that means that some days are a lot worse than others,” said Roy Radney, Sarah’s father.

He also said it could’ve been worse for the many other people impacted by this storm.

“We’re a lot luckier I think that there was not more tragedies, at least more injuries or more deaths,” Roy said. “The damage over there in Seminole County is horrific.”

Gene showed us some of the other damage to his home.

He said everything he sees reminds him of his granddaughter.

"The house has been fixed, But it won’t never be the same.”

Sarah’s father said he is grateful for the support that he received from the Seminole County community and from people across the country who reached out.

Emergency Management Director Travis Brooks said the face of Seminole county is changed forever.

Brooks said countywide, some homes went 15 to 16 days without power.

Riding through Donalsonvile and parts of Seminole County you can see many tarps still cover homes in the area.

Travis Brooks. (Source: WALB)
Travis Brooks. (Source: WALB)

Though a lot of the damage has been removed, Brooks said there is still more work to be done.

“We’re a lot further a long than what we kind of anticipated we would be due to the circumstances,” said Brooks.

He said it will be years before Seminole County returns to normal, as lots of construction is happening in county and city limits.

He said they are still picking up debris throughout the area.

Copyright 2019 WALB. All rights reserved.