Closings: Schools, churches, day-cares and businesses

Florida man winds up in St. Louis following Hurricane Michael, determined to help others back home

DARDENNE PRAIRIE, Mo. – Hurricane Michael’s destruction in Panama City, Florida speaks for itself.

Homes completely flatten, boats scattered, and a place thousands of people once called home utterly unrecognizable. Many Floridians fled while some stayed around to tough out the relentless weather.

Phillip Peterson had lived in Panama City for 8 years and evacuated to Biloxi, Mississippi when authorities saw the dangers ahead.

“We were riding it out, then it hit, and it was just incredibly insane what happened,” Peterson said. “It’s sad.”

Peterson’s journey brought him some 600 miles back to St. Louis where he received a job at one of his old employers, Red Robin.

“God leads you in the right direction and I’m just blessed to be here,” he said.

However, with his family and friends in Florida picking through the rumble, Peterson is determined to do something. He started a Facebook group and GoFundMe for those in need and has plans to set up a donation drop-off to send resources to those who need it most.

“To be able to come up here and put my heart and God first I will be able to send some hope down there and give them what they need,” he said.

After receiving his beacon of hope in St. Louis, he’s hoping to be a ray of sunshine as the clouds clear following a ravaging storm.

Peterson set up a Facebook page where he will notify those interested in donating when the dropout location will be set up.

He plans to have it on the parking lot of the Red Robin Dardenne Prairie location.