Leesburg workers, neighbors, honored for hard work in aftermath of Hurricane Irma

Leesburg city workers and local residents were feted Thursday night in honor of their hard work in cleaning up the city in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

The Community Appreciation and Celebration Event featured a free cookout, entertainment, and a bounce house for children to enjoy on the grounds of the Mote-Morris House.

Chuck Johnson and Roger Croft grilled hamburgers for the crowd; Nate Leslies entertained with music.

Sandi Moore, executive director of the Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce, says the event was the ideal way to cheer city workers and to celebrate neighbors helping neighbors.

“When the storm was over, we just had a city that went into action and made sure we were up and running and that our roads were clear, our electric was back up, and we really want to say ‘thank you so much for doing that,’ ” says Sandi. “This is an opportunity for us to celebrate what an awesome community we live in, and that’s what we do here, we help each other out.”

Sandy Stokes, past president of the Chamber, echoed praise. “The city of Leesburg did a phenomenal job in getting our utilities back on, and subsequently, they have done a phenomenal job with the cleanup in the city of Leesburg.”

City workers were publicly applauded by the crowd. The local utility also was praised for doing all of the electrical recovery work without needing outside assistance from other utilities.

Derek Hudson, public information officer for Leesburg, says all city workers went into action during Hurricane Irma.

“Everyone was involved one way or another,” Derek says, ranging from employees taking customer service calls, those working the logistics of getting debris trucks in and out, and others taking care of power outages and clearing the roads.

“It’s great to know that the city is appreciated,” Derek says. “And when the hurricane happened, it was literally people helping their neighbors, their families, and their friends.”