Atkins shared the story of the Hinkleys, whose now-unlivable home was the press conference backdrop. Aaron Hinkley, Atkins said, laid atop his 8 year old daughter and wife to protect them as the house crumbled around them. The American Red Cross, Salvation Army and other organizations have been on hand to help provide victims of the storm with immediate needs like housing, food, water and other special needs, but Atkins said that mission is narrow. 92% of the victims, Atkins said, were insured. 8% were underinsured or uninsured, and will need support for a longer period of time.
The morning's press conference announced a partnership with the United Way of Genesee County, who has agreed to handle donations for long term recovery efforts for Shiawassee County, with no administrative fees. Additionally, Atkins said, the United Way has donated $10,000 seed money, matched by Signal Restoration CEO, Frank Torre, who donated an additional $10,000 to the fund.
"It's been amazing what we've seen from the community," Atkins said. "Resources have fallen out of the sky."
Atkins lauded the incredible community effort, saying it is the reason there is a good chance that debris cleanup efforts will be 100% complete by the end of the weekend.
United Way of Genesee County CEO, Jamie Gaskin, flanked by American Red Cross Mid-Michigan Chapter Director, Kelly King, also spoke of the collaborative efforts. "When disasters happen, we all work very hard to try to come together to make people whole again," he said, "but we're never quite the same." Gaskin continued, "We very much become different people, and I think we become better people."