(SAVANNAH) Getting back to normal after Hurricane Matthew has been easier for some than others. For tugboat Captain Ernie “Snuffy” Smith, that effort has taken nearly 8 months after the storm. Smith lives in the River Bend Subdivision on Mariner’s Court. It’s a Cul-de-sac with twelve homes and ten of them suffered major damage when trees fell on them during Hurricane Matthew. Smith’s home is one of them. “Yeah, ten out of twelve, matter of fact, I got back in last week, people around the corner there are just gettin’ their house fixed up. The one on the corner down there, on the end, i don’t know what’s gonna come of that, and the people across the street are still dealing with their insurance company for theirs, so, it’s been pretty tough.” Smith said.
Smith says he rode out the hurricane on his tugboat while his family evacuated. It was a bitter pill to swallow when he returned home to find decades of memories wiped away by the storm. “I’ve been here 37 years, I bought this house brand new and when I came in after the storm, I found 37 years worth of storage, had been in the attic, all over my living room floor…all the Christmas decorations, everything, all over the floors… so it’s pretty heartbreaking, ya’ know, to see everything you have scattered across the floor.” said Smith. The road to hurricane recovery has not been easy for Smith and his family. “We just moved back in last week, so we have been in and out of storage sheds and rentals ever since the storm hit, so we just getting back in our house and I still got boxes loaded up to go to Goodwill., go to different people wherever so, we’re just getting back in the house.” Smith said.
There is a lasting impact from the storm invisible to the naked eye according to Smith, while it smashed most of the homes on his street, it strengthened the ties the bind the neighborhood together. “Tell ya’ one thing, it brought all the neighbors in this lil Cul-de-sac together, everybody pitched in and helped everybody with generators, with gas, with food, we became a big family.” said Smith. He adds he’ll not soon forget the feeling of returning to that family. “Felt like home…..felt like home.” Smith said.