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WJHG recognized for work helping community after Hurricane Michael

Published: Aug. 23, 2020 at 9:11 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -

After Hurricane Michael, the fight was on to get a much-needed federal relief package to those struggling in the panhandle.

“A lot of people say it feels as though we were forgotten, particularly in Washington D.C.,” said WJHG/WECP anchor and reporter Olivia Michael.

After 236 days, a relief package was finally passed.

For its efforts and contributions in the community, WJHG was awarded Saturday a National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation’s 2020 Service to America Award for small television markets

With the help of groups like Michael’s Angels, as well as counting up the days without any federal relief on-air and online, the nicknamed “Forgotten Coast” started to feel remembered.

“If you can’t get people’s attention by standing on the steps of the state’s capital, I don’t know how else you can do it. People like Michael’s Angels went to those extreme lengths to try and be a voice for those here who were voiceless,” said Michael.

“That ability to just bond together as women and come together and be a voice for the county. I think because we were genuine and authentic and our only agenda was to speak up for Bay County and get that funding, we were well received,” said former Micahel’s Angels member Tracy Johnstone.

Now, almost two years later, the contributions made by the community were critical in getting the help the panhandle needed.

“Looking back, it was so important just having that grassroots group for us as a station working a WJHG having everybody, every day continuing to share the stories of the struggles,” said former WJHG/WECP reporter Jordan McCool. “It wasn’t just one group of people or one area. It really was the whole entire community.”

There is still plenty of work to be done and many across the panhandle are still struggling.

“You shouldn’t see blue tarps two years later and you certainly shouldn’t see people living in campers and we do,” said Johnstone

But those who made sure our area wasn't forgotten are continuing their efforts and making the sure the panhandle remains strong.

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Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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