READING, Ohio -- The destruction from Hurricane Michael as it swept through neighborhoods in the Florida panhandle destroying homes, neighborhoods and businesses, was also felt at a home in Reading.
“Will the beach ever be that beautiful again?” former Mexico Beach resident Lisa Karr said. "Will the beach ever be as pretty as I saw it? Will the shells be there for someone else to pick up?”
She keeps a basket of shells with her to remember her time as a resident of Florida. It’s been more than a decade since she lived in the Mexico Beach area, but the memories are still very clear.
“It’s just beautiful,” Karr said. “You look out at that ocean ... It’s just endless. You watch the dolphins follow the boats -- you try to take it in. That beauty of it.”
She’s heard the home she once lived in doesn’t exist anymore. Other familiar establishments in nearby neighborhoods are now rubble.
“I knew that the structures there could not take the blunt of this,” Karr said.
She knew because just one year ago, Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the U.S. Virgin Islands, where she has family members.
“You can’t get to them,” Karr said. “How do you know your loved ones are okay? You sit and wait!”
She looks forward to when she can head back to Mexico Beach to add new shells to her collection.
“These mean so much to me because I can’t be there,” Karr said. “I wanted to be on the first plane out.”
She hopes to travel back to Florida to help rebuild.
“I tell them you can shake the sand out of your boots but if you really are a local -- an islander -- you’ll never get it out of your feet,” Karr said.