In her letter to the editor posted on Facebook, Shirley Cox both fails to understand how disaster recovery works and comes close to accusing Tamara Allen of keeping relief money. We volunteer for both Franklin County Emergency Management and Tamara, and can speak to the issues.

Hundreds of people generously donated goods to the victims of the Eastpoint fire, and others have spent many hundreds of hours sorting those goods and preparing them for distribution. Gifts that had immediate use, such as food, tents, yard tools, and water were immediately distributed. The bulk of the items remain in storage for the simple reason the victims are not ready for them. For example, a victim currently living in an RV cannot accept a new queen-sized bed, but one is waiting when the victim moves to permanent housing.

Every cent of the kind donations of money will go to the victims, but it may come in the form of refrigerators and washers, which were not donated. Again, those sorts of items await homes.

Who do you think delayed starting her campaign for county commission so that she could put all her time into managing the warehouse of gifts to victims? Tamara Allen. She takes on, without compensation, every good work that others will not. She even forgoes compensation she is entitled to for writing grants so that she can count her volunteer time as an "in-kind" donation to make the grants larger. She gives time to the food pantry, history museum, Carrabelle Cares, the lighthouse, Episcopal church, emergency management, and a few we've forgotten. When she calls, we go, knowing she has a task in the public good that she cannot handle without some help.

It is always best to get a full understanding of both sides before voicing indignation. That's true for our ongoing relief efforts. In the case of Tamara Allen, disagree with her all you wish, but have damned good evidence before you suggest that she does anything other than devote her life to the good of Franklin County.


Timothy Keith-Lucas

Lisa Keith-Lucas