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Laurens County shelters open up to hurricane evacuees

Dozens of people are calling shelters home all across Central Georgia as they try to move out of Hurricane Matthew's path.

Dozens of people are calling shelters home all across Central Georgia as they try to move out of Hurricane Matthew's path.

Many different people showed up to the Dublin High School shelter, but they all had one thing in common: they were all just glad to be safe.

"The hurricane doesn't choose. It treats everyone equally,” says Adelaide Kirk with the West Central Georgia Red Cross chapter.

Most everyone all along the coastline from Florida to Georgia could be in Hurricane Matthew’s path, but some have sought refuge in the Dublin High School gymnasium.

Kirk says she hopes evacuees will not wait until the last minute to make it out to the shelter.

"What may happen is that we may find a lot of families on the road for hours and hours just to get as far as Dublin. As the night wears on, they'll be tired and just need to get off. There really aren't any hotel rooms available within like a 50-mile radius,” says Kirk.

Dublin High School may not have continental breakfast like a hotel, but they do have caring businesses in the area willing to help out.

"Y'all let us serve you. It'd be my pleasure,” says Bill Crooms the General Manager of Sonny’s in Dublin.

The Sonny's in Dublin volunteered to donate dinner and lunch to the dozens held up in shelters across Laurens County.

"People are in need. It's more than just Sonny's barbeque. It's more than just having a restaurant. It's' more than barbeque. We believe in going out and helping people and helping people in the community,” explains Crooms.

Ruth and Lori came to the shelter all the way from Brunswick. One of them used to be a nurse who helped out in shelters.

"I enjoyed it because I got to meet the people. Now I'm on the other end of it and I see how much of a blessing it is for people that don't have a place to go,” says Ruth Howard.

Some of Ruth and Lori's family stayed behind in Brunswick. But they say if you can get out of Hurricane Matthew's dangerous path, you should.

"If you have a question about whether you should evacuate or not please evacuate. It's too late to lose your life. You can replace everything that you're leaving behind but you surely cannot replace your life. That's right,” says Howard.

It is not too late for people to make it to the shelters in Laurens County. There are three main shelters open.
West Laurens High School in Dexter. Another at Dublin High School on Hillcrest Parkway. The last one is at East Laurens High School on Highway 80 East.

A director with the Emergency Management Agency in Laurens County says the shelters will close once the last person leaves.