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Lula rewards residents with picnic for efforts after Irma
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Residents of Lula line up to be served food by City of Lula employees and counsel members during a community picnic that was held to thank Lula residents for coming together after Tropical Storm Irma rattled the community in Lula, on Oct. 27, 2017. - photo by David Barnes

Except for two years serving in the military, 70-year-old Doug Morris said he’s lived in Lula all his life.

Recalling the severe weather brought by Hurricane Irma six weeks ago that toppled a tree on top of the roof of his house and damaged his kitchen, Morris said it was the worst storm he’s seen since a tornado hit Lula in the mid-1980s.

Morris shared his thoughts while partaking in Friday’s community picnic at the Lula train depot sitting at a table with his wife, Martha, and neighbors.

Martha Morris said it was a scary moment when the tree came crashing into the house. However, she knew everything would be OK when she saw neighbors rush to help her and her husband.

“It seemed like there were 30 people in our yard helping out,” she said. “There was a fellow people didn’t know who got his chain saw to help.”

Teena Smith remembered getting a call from her 34-year-old son Dell Chandler who got trapped by trees that fell all around his vehicle. By the time she drove eight miles to find her son, Smith said people already were there to help him.

Smith said she’s lived in Lula 26 years and described the storm as the worst she’d been through since a tornado hit her house when she lived in Alabama.

Mayor Milton Turner welcomed everyone who filled the depot’s banquet hall.

“We thought about having the picnic earlier in the year, but after Irma, we decided it was a way to thank the community for coming together,” Turner said. “People out there helped neighbors cut trees, I seen them clear roads.”

Council member Marvin Moore said he was pleased with the turnout.

“We didn’t know what to expect, but with us having the depot, I can see the excitement spilling over to the community,” Moore said.

The city took ownership of the train depot facilities from the Lula Area Betterment Association two months ago. Council is planning to invest $150,000 over two years to renovate the depot.

“We plan to make changes and upgrades,” Moore said. “We hope to see more of this.”