Alabama has experienced hard times before, and 2020 has clearly added its fair share. When Hurricane Sally struck the Gulf Coast, it once again hit home for many at Bryant Bank. What some may not realize is that Bryant Bank has a total of 17 offices across the state, four of which are in the Gulf Coast region.
As Hurricane Sally began to approach, Bryant Bankers boarded up windows, prepared their offices, and hunkered down at home as they anxiously waited for the storm to pass, only expecting it to make contact as a category 1 hurricane. As the storm began to slam the gulf coast, stronger than many expected, the Bryant Bank family hoped and prayed for everyone’s safety. When asked about the severity and impact of the hurricane, one Bryant Banker shared that, “it was a long and scary night” for he and his family.
When the morning light began to creep through the dark clouds that Wednesday morning, it was clear that Hurricane Sally had caused massive destruction. Power was out across several counties, extensive damage had been caused by downed trees and power lines, and many families were evacuated from their own home due to flooding. The leadership team at Bryant Bank quickly gathered to assess the situation and to check on team members. Fortunately, all team members were ok and only a few had direct damage done to their home.
Bankers outside of the South Alabama region began to discuss how they could help. Just like the South Alabama team did for Tuscaloosa when the 2011 tornadoes hit, the bankers knew they wanted to quickly put care into action and did just that. On the Sunday following the storm, a team of bankers traveled South to help their fellow co-workers and their Alabama neighbors.
As the team arrived with a plethora of supplies such as chainsaws, gas, pressure washers, water bottles, and more, it was clear upon arrival they had their work cut out for them. As they traveled from house-to-house to help, many horrifying stories were shared too. Stories ranged from a couple surviving an escape from a capsized boat to those having to be rescued from their flooded home by a SWAT team at 3 a.m., to bankers having to pull their own neighbors from flooded homes.
A Bryant Banker that traveled to help shared that, “so many trees were down and homes and businesses had major damage. Families in many areas were in utter shock after being displaced from flooding. It felt good to be able to be there and to help others out.”
After two gruesome days of cutting downed trees, picking up debris, emptying homes of soaked belongings, the team gathered their belongings and traveled back home with a thankful heart to have had the opportunity to help those who have also helped other Alabamians during some of our darkest days. That’s the spirit of Alabama that Bryant Bank loves most – neighbors caring for neighbors.