Dawn Whit, 47, and her husband, Glen, 51, are living in a tent at a Youngstown RV park.
YOUNGSTOWN — A Bay County couple are living in a tent near their overturned trailer waiting for word on their daughter who stayed at Mexico Beach during Hurricane Michael.
Dawn Whit, 47, and her husband Glen, 51, returned to Augie's World Campground RV Park a day after the storm made landfall to find the mobile park in ruins. Owners of the park removed tree debris within two days, but nearly all of the trailers on the property were damaged.
The Whits' daughter, Debbie, brought them a tent and some supplies.
Whit's mind has been on her missing daughter, Kelly Strayer, who she last spoke before Michael obliterated Mexico Beach.
"She said 'lots of prayers mama, I love you,'" Whit says. "She's on Highland View at the bottom of the bridge is the last I heard from her."
Whit and her husband rode out the storm at a relative's house in Lake City. When the cyclone had passed, they came back to the RV park. Insurance representatives told them not to touch the wreckage of their trailer, and they haven't, for fear they won't receive their claim.
The broken tin home lying on its side is a coffin of lost memories, according to Whit.
"I don't even know what day it is now," said Whit while holding back tears. She said in 2004, she was affected by long-lived Hurricane Ivan, which brushed the Panhandle before looping back around and making landfall on the Texas-Louisiana border.
The Whits have been able to get by with help from strangers, who donated a propane grill and gas, blankets and baby wipes to clean themselves. They're living on boiled eggs, SpagettiO's, packs of tuna and crackers.
Whit says fuel costs are making her husband's job about 50 miles away in White City unsustainable. The couple moved into an RV to save money for a down payment on a house, but are now considering using the insurance money to leave the state.
"When you lose everything, it makes you want to go," Whit says. "I have to be honest, there are a lot of people that are rude. I went to the grocery store to get a few groceries and they are fighting because they can't get beer. Stuff like that is irritating."
It's especially hard for Whit who misses her daughter and lives in a tent visited at night by bear, deer and raccoons.
"The only reason my husband and I decided to live in an RV — he lived in one when I met him — you can save up money to put down on a house," Whit says. "You can put money away instead of light bills. That didn’t happen. We just lost everything.
"When you can’t even get to your own clothes and your feet are frozen in the morning it’s hard."