‘I’m Committed’: Island Die-Hards Won’t Evacuate For Matthew

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (AP) – The mayor of tiny Tybee Island, Georgia, was so worried about his constituents that he was calling them personally, pleading with them to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Matthew. But the beer kept flowing at Calvin Ratterree’s bar, where about a dozen holdouts gathered for lunch.

“I’m worried, but we’ve got friends across the street with a third-floor condo,” said Ratteree, who owns Nickie’s 1971 bar about a block from Georgia’s largest public beach. “I’m committed. I’d rather be here with the people that support me and need me.”

The 3,000 people who live on Tybee Island, 18 miles east of Savannah, were ordered to evacuate Wednesday. Most left, some of them hitting the road at the last-minute Friday as Matthew churned toward Georgia from the coast of Florida.

But some insisted on riding out the storm, much to the frustration of Mayor Jason Buelterman. He personally called some of the holdouts, hoping to persuade them to move inland.

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“This is what happens when you don’t have a hurricane for 100 years,” Buelterman said. “People get complacent. They just don’t know. Thankfully, it’s a very small minority.”

Among those Buelterman called was Steve Todd, who was having a drink with neighbors at Ratterree’s bar. Todd made sure his wife and child and their two dogs evacuated. He said he stayed behind to guard his home and belongings, fearing he otherwise might not be able to return for a week or more.

“We’re at a really safe building, probably one of the safest on Tybee,” Todd said.

Others weren’t taking chances.

Jeff Dickey hefted a diesel-powered generator into his pickup truck Friday morning outside his waterfront home. He had hoped Matthew would take a turn away from shore, as other storms have in the past.

“We kind of tried to wait to see if it will tilt more to the east,” Dickey said. “But it’s go time.”

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


One Comment

  1. John Dole says:

    Please do us one favor. If anyone needs help/rescued/etc after refusing a mandate to leave…do NOT put other people’s lives in danger trying to help them. Let them suffer in the ignorance that they’ve chosen.

  2. Deputy53 says:

    You are right! In fact, after the 4 hurricanes in 2004, Florida did 2 things: Made it mandatory that IF evacuation is ordered, you may be arrested for failing to leave. (Since modified to get release forms signed by those wishing to stay-to prevent a lawsuit later for…when flooding & winds reach a certain level, the governor will issue “stand down” orders for first responders. Once issued, NO ONE may respond to any calls (911 or otherwise,) until the order is rescinded.
    So, IF I wasn’t retired now, I wouldn’t have to go try and save some idiot, and maybe make my wife a widower. Wish that was in place in 2004! Yea! Florida. Common sense at last.

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