One year after Hurricane Sally, Orange Beach family repay community kindness

ORANGE BEACH, Alabama (WKRG) – Families on the Gulf Coast are still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sally.

Two Orange Beach families lost their homes in a massive fire just hours after the storm hit. One of these houses belonged to Jack Rayborn.

“It was something else, yeah,” Rayborn said.

Hurricane Sally struck on September 16, 2020 and left their home relatively unscathed. But that night, their son, Chandler, woke up to flames coming from next door.

We spoke with Chandler last year – “I was probably screaming very loudly ‘Clint and Sue’s house is on fire, we have to wake them up.'”

Jack Rayborn ran next door and woke his neighbors just in time. The fire spread to five buildings. Orange Beach firefighters waded through three feet of water to save three of the buildings. The homes of the Rayborns and their neighbors were destroyed.

“We pray every night about it and how lucky we got,” Rayborn said.

Now they’re almost ready to go home, which is a huge relief. “I’m now focusing on our entry and what is done every day. “

One of his favorite things he found after the fire – an American flag that had been burnt but not destroyed. The flag will stay with him in their reconstructed home. “I rolled it up in the closet over there, and as soon as we’re done, we’re going to unroll it and hang it up.”

They say they couldn’t have done it without all the help from their community. “My neighbor Avery and his wife Caroline said, ‘You stay here while you tear down your house and get under your feet. “So we did it,” Rayborn said. This neighbor lives in Louisiana, and this year they needed help.

“As soon as that storm, they said she was going to Houma, I knew what we were going to do,” Rayborn said.

Rayborn says he called his neighbor the morning after Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana’s Gulf Coast.

“I called him and said, ‘What do you need?’ And he said, “Bring me gasoline, bring me water and bring me air conditioners, bring me tarps,” Rayborn said. He continued, “This community filled a horse trailer in four hours, and we left Monday afternoon and went straight to them to reciprocate for what they had done for us.”

Their house is now almost complete, but the reminders will still be there.

Rayborn says they are now focused on the future. “We’re almost back,” he said.

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