A Community Unites

The staff of the Gabber, camped out in a local living room, after Irma wiped out power, phone and wifi at our office on 49th Street.

Many of you are reading this now in a sweltering house, without power. Some of you are looking at major damage to your home – to your walls, your roofs, your fences, your garden. You’re looking at felled trees that have stood all your lives, here in this community. That loss is not nothing, and we know it. This storm has affected us all.

Here at the Gabber, we are not actually at the Gabber. Our home base on 49th Street South, our office which has never lost power for the duration of an issue, is without the service needed to bring you this week’s paper. So I am writing from the home of our graphic designer Zack Knight’s mother. She is one of the lucky few in Gulfport with not only power, but with internet. We could not be more thankful to Pam for allowing us to take over her home to get this week’s Gabber out to you all.

But all over Gulfport, and likely throughout Florida, that’s what’s happening. Neighbors helping others, opening their doors, before and after the storm. We know we are lucky – not only because here in the Bay area we missed yet another direct hit – but because human goodness always finds a way.

You may notice that this issue of the Gabber is slim. To be honest, we’re proud to be able to bring it to you at all. Ours is not a large paper with unlimited resources. All of our office employees have been affected by this storm. The business that prints our papers was affected by this storm. Some of our reporters evacuated; some could stay, but are without the resources to do their work.

For nearly fifty years, the Gabber Newspaper has been a humble effort to unite our community. This week is no different. In this issue you will find pictures, and a few words, of the impact of Irma that we are able to bring you this week. They’ve been gathered by office staff, found on social media, and sent in by readers. It’s but a small representation of how the hearts and lives of our residents have weathered this storm.

We know that this is not a deep dive into the hand Irma has dealt our readers. In the coming issues, we hope to bring you a more detailed look at the impact that Irma has had on our area, from a municipal to personal level. We strongly encourage you to send us your own pictures and stories, to alert us of Good Samaritans, or to keep us informed of your challenges as we rebuild our unique and indomitable community.

We did escape the full wrath of this storm, but its aftermath is still sobering. In my own, everyday language: “Dude, that was really close, you guys.”

We’ve been so heartened to see that as a community – with our preparation, the work of our municipalities, our first responders, and so many good neighbors – the next storm will have its work cut out for it.

One by one, we’re hearing stories of how, throughout this storm, people care about their neighbors. And as a team? You simply can’t beat us.


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