By The Hive Creative Consulting
When Hurricane Michael made landfall in Mexico Beach last October, it left a path of destruction and devastation that is still being felt today.
Fort Walton Beach resident, Carol Zorn, was preparing to celebrate her birthday that weekend, but her plans quickly changed when she saw that our neighbors to the east were in need. Carol, who is originally from Panama City, had family and friends who were directly impacted; and although she had evacuated during the storm, she quickly began coordinating relief efforts on her drive home.
Once home, Carol loaded her car with supplies and made the drive east to Panama City where she made a up story so that authorities would allow her inside city limits. Days after the storm, she worked with local businesses to organize volunteers and set up a supply station in the Cove, a neighborhood in Panama City that saw widespread devastation. They sent crews out to help clear trees, distributed truckloads of supplies and served a hot meal to 1500 people.
“Carol really humanized the problem, and connected people who weren’t there with ways to help,” Carly Harmer, friend, said. “Carol’s tenacious spirit and determination inspired us all to give everything we had to help rebuild Panama City.”
Carol turned her garage into a distribution center where people shipped needed supplies from all over the country. She used those supplies to make care packages, many of which included personal touches and baked goods, that she hand-delivered to nearly 200 people. The busy mom of two worked tirelessly for weeks, going back and forth to bring supplies and food to residents who needed help.
“Carol not only got our entire family involved in the relief efforts, but also the Fort Walton Beach community,” Carter Zorn, Carol’s husband, said. “People were dropping off supplies at all hours of the day and night, and she worked around the clock.”
Even after the immediate needs were met, she continued to find ways to help. During the holidays, she organized a donation drive to fill stockings for every student in the third grade at Deer Point Elementary School.
“I think what was so impressive about her efforts is that she did not lose momentum,” friend, Erin Bakker, said. “She had a pulse on what was going on over there, and continued to update everyone on how their donations were being used and what the latest need was.”
Carol’s day job is art director for The Hive Creative Consulting, where she creates custom artwork, logos and graphics for many local businesses and non-profits. She is a sustainer of the Junior League of the Emerald Coast, where she previously served as treasurer and graphic designer.
Carol is symbolic of so many efforts by individuals and organizations who have worked tirelessly on fundraising, giving and simply trying to meet the needs people devastated by this catastrophic event that left thousands without homes and businesses and everyday needs and still is. To us, all of these people and organizations continue to be our Hometown Heroes.