We’re in it for the long haul.
Today on Up To Speed, we're rebuilding the Gulf Coast - from new homes to the newest technology.
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We’re committed to the communities where we live and work.
Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael in October of last year, we’re helping the area rebuild, and come back stronger.
Last week, we announced a $1 million dollar donation to Habitat for Humanity, and 20 V Teamers spent the day framing a home. And, from a Network perspective, we’ve announced that Panama City will be one of the cities where we launch 5G this year. We’re in this for the long haul with the people of the Gulf Coast.
Michael Herbert’s Producer’s Notes
In the three years that I’ve spent as a producer for The Studio, I’ve chased many V Teamers as they’ve run, flown, paddled and driven to different crises around the country. From the Sonoma and Paradise wildfires in California to Hurricanes Irma and Florence, seeing Verizon employees respond with tireless dedication to their communities has been the most rewarding part of my job.
Last week, I had the opportunity to return to the Florida panhandle to see how Panama City has fared since Hurricane Michael struck in October of 2018. I was impressed to see how much of the city has bounced back. The restaurants on Harrison Avenue were doing brisk lunch business and The Bay High School Marching Band was practicing on the football field.
Unfortunately, almost nine months after the storm, there are many areas of Panama City that are still in the early stages of recovery. When you venture beyond the Downtown area, you’ll see homes with tarps over their roofs, churches and small businesses that have been abandoned, and roads in need of major repair. Many people who left Panama City after the storm have yet to return.
“The real hard work begins after the cameras leave,” Lynda Smith, the Senior Director for Corporate Relations with Habitat for Humanity, told me. This past Thursday was a day that showed Verizon’s dedication to rebuilding Panama City goes beyond the Network, as more than 20 Verizon employees volunteered to build a home for a local family. Tami and Ronan joined the crew to raise the frame of the house and make the announcement that, along with a one million dollar donation to Habitat for Humanity, Panama City will be among the first to have a Verizon 5G Network.
Back on 11th Street, a new protective cover was placed over the upgraded 4G antennae and the fiber cable has been connected to the 5G nodes. The 5G Network is an investment in this community that will attract new business and innovation to this city. It will allow Panama City to rebuild its social, educational and health services based on the newest technology. It’s hard to imagine how this will change the fabric of this beach community and what opportunities will emerge for the people here.
News cycles seem to get shorter, everyday and it’s easy for our attention to shift from one natural disaster to the next. But for each community touched by tragedy, there is a dedicated group of Verizon employees that remain focused on keeping people connected where they live, work and play… even after I leave with my camera.