PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Last week, a severe storm generated a tornado swept through the city of Selma, Alabama leaving the town unrecognizable, and also claiming the lives of six people.
Though the community remains in dismay, one Panama City woman, born and raised in Selma, generated an idea that will give back to what was once her hometown.
Rochelle Walker Murry, who is a front desk receptionist of the Rodeway Inn hotel on highway-98, said she was visiting family when she made the devastating drive through Selma.
“I mean, I cried, just walking through the city and what used to be there is not there anymore,” Murry said. “A lot of the buildings, historic buildings, got destroyed.”
Selma served as a “ground zero” point in the fight for voting rights throughout the 1960s, including the gruesome event known as “Bloody Sunday,” which is what brought the city the most noteriety and was a turning point in the civil rights movement.
Now, the community is left wondering where they will receive their next meal.
Murry decided to collaborate with Rodeway Inn’s Director of Operations, Nirav Banker and begun collecting supplies to take back to the city.
Banker, who also has a friend in Selma, said that the decision “just felt right.”
“It hit me in the chest without any hesitation,” Banker said.
The two began working with the Days Inn hotel in Callaway that serve as drop off points for anyone from any area to give. Rodeway even included a sign on for drivers to see in passing.
“Whatever you donate, we will welcome it, we really, really, really need it–they really need it,” Murry said.
She also said she believes the city will be rebuilt, but it will require lots of love and patience from the community.
February 11th will be the final day to donate items. Banker and Murry will then travel back to Selma to join with local churches to distribute them throughout the city.