Lisa Sulka

Team Bluffton.

That says it all. This team not only includes our town administration, town council, staff and police department, it also includes our residents and partners in the community.

It takes all of us to work together to make Bluffton a better place, and this can’t be more true than during a storm situation like we had the first week of this month.

Several restaurants and families either brought food to the police department or opened their doors to feed all of our county’s first responders. Many thanks go to Golden Corral, Parker’s, Olive Garden, Starbucks, Brent O’Toole and Calibogue Catering, Pesaturo Family and Zoe’s.

It was one of the longer periods of waiting that I can remember, and I know that frustrated many, including me. But if we can see the good in the long wait, it was the fact that all of our staff at the town had a chance to prepare personally, and also be ready to represent all of us if Dorian had hit us.

Up to the last minute, and I mean THE last minute, at the 11 p.m. briefing Wednesday night, we all were very worried that the storm would keep on its path northward and perhaps jog to the west. If that had happened, I would not be writing this article, nor would there be a delivery of this paper.

When I saw that the storm had taken just a slight movement to the east, it was then apparent that we would most likely be spared. And as we sit here today, that was a reality.

And that is the moment we all need to think about the next time we are under evacuation. We could have received what Myrtle Beach and North Carolina was getting on Thursday – tornados and extreme rain.

Every storm, I leave with an understanding of what we can do differently. With this one, I really believe we were ready and couldn’t have changed one thing. We gave all of you the information you were wanting quickly and that allowed all of you to make an informed decision on what was best for your family.

For the ones that left, I offer you a huge amount of thanks, and I hope you will spread the word of the ease of re-entering our town. I feel that once we have the trust that you will be able to come back quickly after an evacuation, then more of you will make that decision next time.

For those of you who stayed, thank you for sheltering in place, moving items out of your yard for safety and following our social media on next steps.

When the storm was over, I said the hashtag for us and the storm is “#blessed.” We were blessed to be on the safest side of one of the deadliest storms I can remember.

Let’s do all we can to help our neighbors to the north of us and also in the Bahamas. There may be a day when we are the recipients of this kind of help, so let’s do what we need to do to help get them back to normal quickly.

Lisa Sulka is the mayor of the Town of Bluffton.