Hometown girl needs help after hurricane

OKEECHOBEE — Linda Parker, who was born and raised in Okeechobee, now lives in a small town called Cottondale, which was devastated by Hurricane Michael last week. Mrs. Parker and her husband, Steve, are fondly remembered by many here in Okeechobee. She owned a small store that sold scrubs, called Linda’s Place, for several years and also owned a craft store called Country Crafts. She spent several years working as an aide at Grace Christian School and cooked lunches for the children.

Linda Parker, formerly from Okeechobee, needs help recovering from Hurricane Michael.

Mr. Parker, who passed away in 2016, was a teacher in Okeechobee. He taught at the 5th and 6th Grade Center and at Yearling Middle School. They moved to Cottondale in 2013.

Mrs. Parker is asking for help now. She says she hates asking for help but doesn’t know what else to do. The damage was so extensive in their area that they are expected to be without power for weeks. She lives on a fixed income, and all her food was lost due to the power failure.

She had to purchase a generator in order to have water because she has a well, and the money she used for the generator was supposed to pay for bills. Her son, Bruce, who managed Beef O’ Brady’s here in town for seven years, and her daughter both live up there now, too, and their jobs are very likely lost because of the damage to the area, so there will be no income in those homes, either. Mrs. Parker also has many trees down all over her property and several on her fence and no way to remove them but hopes someone will want them for the wood. There is one on her house, but insurance will take care of that one eventually.

After the storm, they were unable to get out of their property for two days because of the trees blocking the roads everywhere, but finally, a neighbor with heavy equipment came and cleared a path so they could get out to try to get assistance. They were able to find a generator at a Walmart in a nearby town, but food is scarce, and they have very little money with which to buy any when they do find it. They heard yesterday that food was being given out at a store in a town nearby, but when they arrived, there was no sign of this.

She says soon they won’t be able to afford gas to go out and look for assistance. She is asking for any help anyone feels led to provide. If you can’t help financially, then please pray. The area is devastated. If you are able to help, the branch manager at Sun Trust Bank, Perry Mitchell, can assist with depositing funds into Mrs. Parker’s account. The bank’s number is 863-824-4200. They also have a Gofundme page set up through Facebook if you prefer to donate that way.

For more information on the damage in Cottondale, visit http://weartv.com/news/local/were-just-trying-to-make-it-through-says-hurricane-michael-survivor.

Cathy Womble is a staff writer for the Lake Okeechobee News.

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