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Acts of kindness and heroism during Tropical Storm Debby

5:11 PM, Jul 10, 2012   |    comments
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As the discarded insides of homes bake under a hot sun, the one thing that wasn't destroyed by Tropical Storm Debby was the spirit of the people of the First Coast.

Donations of clothes and food are coming in by the bag-load and the helping hands of strangers are healing the wounds Debby left behind. Chris Hedden in Clay County says 17 men and women from the VP 16 War Eagles came by his house offering help.

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"It is touching. I mean, when people do stuff like that, it is a great thing. I couldn't tell them thank you enough," said Hedden.

He says what they accomplished in 5 hours would have taken him a month to do.

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Even the youth of the community got involved to help some of Debby's smallest victims. Kira Cook of Middleburg raised hundreds of dollars by selling lemonade, brownies and even telling jokes. All of the money she raised went to Safe Animal Shelter in Middleburg which sustained severe damage. Cook raised $168.47, but Maggie Marshall Dog Training decided to match that, making the grand total $337.88.

There were also two acts of heroism in the aftermath of Debby.

Pictures were snapped of a rescue that took place on June 27th in Columbia County. In the pictures, you can see a young girl in pink clinging to a tree for her life as floodwaters rage around her.

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Two brave men, identified as Craig White and John Shipp Jr. jumped in a boat and were able to pull her to safety, saving her life. White says the girl had been clinging to the tree for over an hour by the time they arrived. He and Shipp were worried she wouldn't be able to hold on much longer.

That same day in Nassau County, three deputies rescued men clinging to trees near Bryceville. According to Deputy Ken Clements, three men were in a truck when it became submerged in floodwaters near Stokes Bridge.

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The men were able to make it out of the truck, but were swept away by the strong current. Two were able to climb trees to get out of the water, a third was stuck in neck deep water clinging to a tree.  The men were stranded for nearly 8 hours until a passerby heard their calls for help.

According to a report, Deputy Clements, Sgt. Slebos and Deputy Livingston lept into action. Deputy Clements and Sgt. Slebos swam towards the men as Deputy Livingston held their safety lines.

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As the deputies swam against the fierce current, Sgt. Sutton arrived on scene with a small boat and the team was able to rescue the three men.  

Those are just a few of the stories First Coast News has received, but in every corner of the First Coast you can find pictures of courage and kindness in the face of disaster.

First Coast News

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