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Palm Coast Monday, Sep. 11, 2017 1 year ago

Inside Rymfire Elementary's shelter through the eyes of Flagler School Board member Andy Dance

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Dance said the shelter's operations were organized and that there were ample volunteers helping everything go according to plan.
by: Paige Wilson Community Editor

Flagler School Board member Andy Dance, along with his two daughters and one son, rode out Hurricane Irma in the shelter at Rymfire Elementary.

School Board member Andy Dance takes a selfie with a health department worker at Rymfire Elementary. Photo courtesy of Andy Dance

“It was something I thought we could do to help the community, help our schools (and) help the shelter,” he said. “It was a safe place, so I knew the family would be safe, but it was also a place that we knew we could help as well.” 

The Dance family helped as needed with the cafeteria staff, as that’s what they did last October during Hurricane Matthew. However, Dance said all the credit for the smooth operations goes to the many volunteers, Flagler Schools employees, the health department, Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. National Guard, Flagler Humane Society and more.

“It was just very well staffed, very well run, and I couldn’t be more proud of the Flagler people that put it all together and helped it run so smoothly,” he said.

On Sunday night, Superintendent James Tager stopped by Rymfire, located at 1425 Rymfire Drive, Dance said. Rymfire Principal Barbara Sauvelpahkick and other Flagler Schools employees were there as well.

Dance said that while the shelter lost power around midnight on

Locals gather around a T.V. inside Rymfire during Hurricane Irma. Photo courtesy of Andy Dance

Monday, the generator kicked on soon after. The shelter, which was designated for residents with special needs, wasn’t as filled as it was last year during Matthew. Dance thinks this is because local nursing homes had more time to find other plans before this storm.

“I did get a lot of comments about how people appreciated the fact that the schools were open as shelters, and they felt safe there and they felt that everybody was very helpful, so it felt good to be able to provide that service,” he said.

Dance and his family returned to their home in the E section in Cypress Knoll Monday afternoon.

“Thankfully, we had some debris but no damage at the house, so I was very happy to see that,” he said.

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