Hurricane Michael was the defining moment of 2018 for almost everyone in northwest Florida. And there is one dedicated individual who stands out for his compassion and daily efforts to help those who were hardest hit by the historic storm.
Jeremy Sprenkle has been named 30A Local of the Year for his work with The Sonder Project, directly helping countless families who suffered devastation after Hurricane Michael. It is Jeremy’s hands-on work ethic and daily persistence on behalf of hurricane families that really sets him apart, and for this and so many more reasons, he was chosen as the 2018 recipient of the 30A Local of the Year Award.
Sprenkle is a founder of the non-profit Sonder Project and a co-owner of vacation rental company 360 Blue.
Once Hurricane Michael’s destruction was apparent, The Sonder Project went from focusing on community efforts overseas to launching a full-scale recovery effort in our own backyard.
The day after the storm, Jeremy helped organize volunteers to visit the impact area to see if they could provide any assistance. What they found was devastating – fallen trees everywhere, roofs ripped off homes, cars crushed, buildings destroyed, and people in need.
“I only went over to help move debris a handful of times, but every single time I’d go, Jeremy was there,” said 30A’s Mike Ragsdale. “Saturdays. Sundays. It didn’t matter. He was dragging limbs or driving a tractor, or he was speaking with neighbors about how he would come over and help them next. It’s just incredible how much energy Jeremy has already committed to rebuilding those communities, and he shows no sign of slowing down.”
What began as an organic desire to assist neighbors in need has since evolved into an organized long-term recovery effort in partnership with licensed contractors, businesses, and local officials to help Panama City become even stronger than it was before Hurricane Michael. Since the storm, the Sonder Project has raised over $600,000 to help those in need and has vowed to continue recovery efforts for as long as possible.
“Jeremy has been the heart and soul of The Sonder Project’s work in Bay County.”
“Since the storm, we’ve been able to assist 208 households and much of that work would not have been possible if it wasn’t for Jeremy,” said Chad Zibelman, CEO of The Sonder Project. “What’s even more remarkable is the selflessness that continues to drive him. Jeremy certainly wasn’t aiming to receive any recognition or accolades for his effort; he simply wants to help people, and that is what makes him even more deserving of this award.”
The 30A Company’s 30A LOCAL OF THE YEAR AWARD is designed to honor community leaders who work to positively shape our coastal community. It is our honor to recognize Jeremy Sprenkle’s empathy and determination with this award.
The Sonder Project is a 501(c)3 organization. If you would like to volunteer time or money to help those in need, please visit www.thesonderproject.org.