With all due respect and whatever copyright infringement possibly might be entailed, we shall call them Bride and Groom.
All indications are they would rather remain anonymous and in this case we had no problem with the “unnamed sources” routine.
And, as you will see as this story unravels, Bride and Groom seem fine monikers because the names are immaterial.
This we believe we know about Bride and Groom.
They do not live in Gulf County and as far as anyone is willing or able to say they have never set foot in the community of Port St. Joe or strode the beaches of St. Joseph Peninsula.
Their wedding was in Chicago, “Big Shoulders” Chicago.
However, there is a thing called the Internet and something called Facebook which, in theory as I have not tried, will connect someone in Times Square with another on the top of Mount Everest.
So, we’ll take a bit about Bride’s family as this actually started with a mother or aunt, another piece of this puzzle.
As things did in the days following Hurricane Michael, a community formed on Facebook to reach out to assist the ravaged communities.
Someone participating either was born or lived in Apalachicola,
As the months passed, Bride’s mother and aunt were very much involved and assisted a number of people, said Kelli Godwin.
Godwin, the Executive Director of the Gulf County Tourist Development Council, is the local cog in this spinning wheel.
So, months go by, charity has flowed in a variety of ways and the date for the nuptials for Bride and Groom is looming.
And the two decide that putting Gulf County, in effect, on the Bride’s registry seemed a fine way to help.
Whatever their guests, again not a Gulf Countian among them as far as we know, might be willing to offer in the form of a donation.
Godwin put Bride and her mother in touch with the Gulf County Citizens Long-Term Recovery Committee.
That was that.
Godwin never heard another thing until informed by a member of the committee the outcome.
The committee referred questions about details to Godwin when it learned of the outcome.
Oh, yeah, the outcome.
The exact details of the wedding and the number of attendees not known, but the happy Bride and Groom, family and friends collected $6,000 for Gulf County and its long-term recovery.
And wanted not one ounce of notice or limelight or paper and ink wasted on what, clearly, is DNA in their definition of basic humanity.
Those are the stories of latent, good works that might never arise save the situation, goodness that have brought us so, so far in just over a year.
Last year at this time, so many were still too much in a state of shock to have thanks other than being alive and being able to keep one foot in front of the other, having survived among the worst Mother Nature could toss.
Many didn’t have another thing, but life, a heartbeat, was sufficient at the time.
This year, when the progress is pondered, there is much to thank not just the major entities but to those who stepped into the fray without leaving much in the way of footprints.
The Walton County chefs of 30A who served gourmet food (and yes, MREs served as fine dining at the time) every day for a week and did so without plugging anything but that day’s menu.
And they weren’t the only ones on the food front.
The BBQ master who fed people weeks or the man and his wife who parked each week in front of the old Frost Pottery Barn in St. Joe Beach and fed people homemade meals.
The couple who, through sheer willpower and donations, turned the Port St. Joe Elementary School gym into a mini-“Toys ‘R Us” for the children of the community last Christmas.
The many chain saw wielders who cleared intersections, streets and yards; not much would stand in their way and restored a bit of civilization when badly required.
The Tallahassee creative team that documented the damage done to Mexico Beach, built a website, created a logo, T-shirts and swag for the effort and did all the packaging and mailing from their home.
The local man who created the “PSJ Strong” T-shirts that became a badge for so many.
The many people who helped operate and supply the giant “White Tent” at County 386 and U.S. 98 that became the place for basic supplies for folks from Mexico Beach to St. Joe Beach.
Going on with the list would be the easy part, but we’ll save the paper.
Yes, the national media forgot about the victims of Hurricane Michael by the next news cycle and Congress as well as state legislators came up well short in meeting the needs of the most impacted counties and people.
And, yes, that frustration was mitigated by the work of organizations such as UMCOR, Catholic Charities, Samaritan’s Purse, United Way, the CCDF and so many organizations built to respond to disaster who have contributed time, energy, money and so many other resources.
But this year special thanks goes out to people like Bride and Groom and whoever instilled in them the humanity our rebuild will require.
Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at The Star.