Words are useless to express the devastation and sorrow about how we are all feeling about the approaching oil in the Florida panhandle and the horror we feel for the states preceding us with the oil spill in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama so I will publish this as is updating you on activities that took place with the Okaloosa County Florida Commissioners meeting this week.
First, a link to a blog post by Attorney Chip Merlin who is being extremely proactive in the Destin, FL area where my friends and family are , staying in tune with what is going on and trying to help consumers in that area. Second , is a copy of an email that I got from a very beloved friend in Destin who is and always has been very interested in the beaches and wildlife there. I hope this post helps bring attention to the plight there and helps even one friend in the area find direction in this unspeakable horror.
To my nephew Ryan in Pensacola, my niece Pam in Ft Walton and family, my nephew Billy and family in Panama City, and to my husband Don’s relatives in Grayton beach and Walton counties, and to my sister Diana and family who own rental property in Destin, FL- our hearts and prayers are with you all daily as well as to all gulf coast residents, displaced workers, and restoration workers trying to save our beaches. Please read on:
Consumer Attorney Chip Merlin’s blog about his visit and participation in the Okaloosa County meetings this week:
*Note- yes I recommend first trying to work with the BP claims process but when all else fails, I do highly recommend Chip Merlin be the attorney you resort to to pursue your losses if you are unsuccessful with BP. I have followed his actions- not just his words- since Katrina.
Second, a most heartening email request from a very dear long term friend in Destin, Donna Minton , also emailing her distribution list requesting we support the Okaloosa County Commissioners which I definitely do in their position to take matters into their own hands to protect our way of life in Destin and the Florida panhandle. Her email is copied below with her knowledge and consent. Donna has given a voice to how we are all feeling in her most special way :
Dear family and friends:
This morning while I was listening to the local news, I caught a TV segment on the Okaloosa County Commissioners here making a decision to move forward with taking action to protect our bays and beaches from the oil spill without waiting for the required governmental permission to do so. I thought that action was kind of gutsy for a governmental org and wanted to show support for their decision and encourage them in this vein of thinking and action. So, I called and spoke with the secretary at the Okaloosa County Commissioner office and told her that I just wanted to write a letter/send an email to the Board of County Commissioner further encouraging them. She was very kind and receptive to my call and told me that the Commissioners are getting flooded with emails on the situation, but very few “old-fashioned” letters are being rec’d. She felt like a letter would be great and assured me that she would personally see that each County Commissioner got a copy of it and she knew they all would appreciate words of support in their “maverick” actions to move forward. She said that a written letter would actually garner some better attention rather than one lone email among so many rec’d. It would get lost in the masses, so to speak. So, I wrote my letter.
I know that so many of you feel that same love and adoration as I do. I’m not alone in these feelings. This situation is a nightmare to my consciousness as I know it is for all of you. Since returning from Great Britain and Ireland 10 days ago and learning how the situation has gotten worse and closer to my own beloved beaches, I have not been able to talk much about the tuition since returning home – the pain of it just runs so deep in my heart. This may sound strange to many of you – but the way I feel is very similar to the feelings I experienced in the months following my Mom’s passing. An incredible feeling of deep and heavy sadness and heartfelt longing for life to return back to normal before the tragic event happened. I worry about all the marine life and wildlife creatures that live in the oceans and on our beaches. It’s more than a dark cloud on my head….it’s a torrential downpour of grief over what is happening. I limit how watch much of the news on the TV/internet I watch or read because it just makes me weep and deepens feelings of depression and hopelessness. Does this sound and feel familiar to any of you? I’m working hard to stay positive, upbeat, and optimistic and praying for that “silver lining” in this situation and the greater “good” that has to come out of even the most tragic of situations. It’s very hard to stay on that optimistic path these days, but definitely the better choice for us all.
So this email is a gentle request of my family friends to consider taking a few minutes of your time and writing a short letter of thanks, support, and encouragement to the Okaloosa County Commissioners office for their decision to move forward – come hell or high water. I hope they truly “walk the talk” they are broadcasting out to the public. Please join me in encouraging them to do so. A positive word of encouragement is so much better than anger, judgment, and criticism. It does not matter whether you live in Okaloosa County or not – or even in Florida. Please consider writing a letter anyway.
A very wise person – very near and dear to my heart – often reminds me to “create love in every situation” so I’m hoping this letter creates a bit of love in this situation. 🙂 If writing a letter resonates with you, ask your family, friends, and colleagues to do so the same. It just takes a few minutes, some paper, envelope and a stamp. And it may make you feel a bit more hopeful..just the act of writing the letter lifted my spirits a bit. The more folks that write, the better. As my friend, Jano, just wrote me in an email this week – It takes a village.
So, I’m asking that perhaps each of you consider writing your own letter of support to the County with the thought that the more positive reinforcement they get from the community on their action, the better it will be for the situation and encourage them to continue to move forward and not wait around for approvals.
I’m not a person that airs my political beliefs willy-nilly and this email is not meant to be a political email in any way (there’s enough of those going around) but you all know how passionate I am about the marine and beach wildlife, our beloved ocean and beaches,and the health of our planet. As with many of you, I have grown up with these beaches in all phases of my life from Gulf Shores,Alabama to Pensacola Beach and now Destin, and Okaloosa Island. I often tell folks that I have Gulf water running through my veins, quartz crystal sand between my toes, the salty smell of the ocean in my nostrils, and the sound of the surf in my heart. I love the beach in all of its varied conditions – be it a soft gentle spring rain, a fierce storm during hurricane season, the bright hot sunshine of July, the solitude quietness of winter, or a peaceful foggy mist in the fall. It is beautiful to me no matter the season or time of day. I have solved many a heartache in my life in long walks and talks with God and the ocean on Okaloosa Island beach, had fun with Sonny on our “date” Sunday beach days snorkeling and swimming, experienced the thrill of finding a “gift from the sea’ on the beaches after a storm, enjoyed the feel of the ocean on my skin while skinny-dipping(surprised you with that one, didn’t I?) and felt the surge of love and admiration in my heart watching herons, pelicans, dolphins, sea gulls,manatees, sea turtle, sandpipers, and crabs make their home here (to name just a few). It’s a boundless love- my love of this area. I’m a proud coastal girl born and bred and hopefully will be one to my last days. I have also honored that love of the ocean and beach in my home and office.
by Donna Minton, Destin, FL
I will continue to post a link to my prayer and song as long as this gulf coast recovery effort is going on:
Should you wish to send this link on this post to your friends just copy and paste this link:
To add to Donna’s contact information above, here’s the link to the Okaloosa Commissioners. If you don’t know what to say to the Commisioners, here is a link to their website which has additional updates from the June 16, 2010 meeting and their fax number so if you do nothing else, print this blog out and fax it to them at 850-651-7142 and add a note to tell them you do support their efforts.
Or forward the following link to your friends and family and to the commissioners by email:
Each and every day until this oil spill is cleaned up, I intend to close each blog with the following prayer and song for oil spill victims, especially the families of those who lost their family members in the Deep Water Horizon explosion:
We appreciate all comments you make to this post if you support the Okaloosa County Commissioners so please post your comments and I will approve them. Let’s use this blog comments section to keep each updated on what is happening in and around the Florida panhandle to give Donna’s voice further wings to help the Florida panhandle and keep those of us living outside of the area news on the developments and progress in the Florida panhandle.
Here is also a link to another blog I wrote last week with all of the BP claim forms should you need them. You can also follow all blogs I’ve posted about BP by just entering BP in the search field on the right column of this blog to read them all to keep up with the information I am updating on the BP claims status.
We also ask that you help those of us in the claims industry help you by passing along our plight trying to get assigned to work these claims. It is just a tragedy that only one adjusting firm has been assigned to handle these claims. As of last Friday, BP had only assigned 600 adjusters between Louisiana and Florida to handle these claims and we do not even know if they are experienced adjusters entirely. Compare those numbers to the following numbers required in the 2004 and 2005 hurricane season: