Tybee Island residents celebrate Thanksgiving despite Hurricane Matthew's damage

Tybee Island residents celebrate Thanksgiving despite Hurricane Matthew damage

TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - Nearly every street on Tybee Island had damage from Hurricane Matthew. Lewis Avenue was no exception.

Storm surge came in from both sides of the street, flooding many houses, leaving homeowners to sort through waterlogged mementos, furniture and irreplaceable items.

One woman I spoke to Thursday says she's thankful for volunteers who have come to help her sort through her belongings since the hurricane, and her neighbors who have comforted her through what she calls a traumatic time in her life.

"And the neighbors, the small kindnesses they gift. You know, the day of the second flood, last week, the neighbors across the street… Coffee, food, brunch...put their arms around me. Said come with us," said Jill Ebrecht, a Tybee resident.

There's still a lot of work to be done, but Ebrecht says FEMA funding is starting to come in, which is a big help getting life back to normal.

Surrounded on both sides by marshes or creeks, the homes along Lewis were bombarded twice over the past month and a half. Once by Matthew, and again during the unusually high tides we had last week.

Many had significant water damage as a result, and the recovery process is still on-going.  But neighbors are relying on one another, and lending a helping hand when they can.

"FEMA has been very helpful. They've given me funds to do some things. But everybody is in a similar boat, they're in different stages of finish. They're not finished. My neighbors, their walls are down, and they're waiting," said Ebrecht.

Ebrecht says one thing she's been thankful for are several rounds of college student volunteers who have come to Tybee to help residents get back on their feet. She says one group that helped her was from Georgia Southern, the other from Western Kentucky University.

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