Students at the Excellence in Journalism Conference 2017 deep dive workshop with award-winning journalist Boyd Huppert experienced a range of emotions as he rolled out one heart-warming story after another from his KARE11 of Minnesota Land of 10,000 Stories segment. It was too much for freelance journalist Stacie O. Johnson, who openly wept as she watched Huppert’s story about victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Johnson can empathize. She and her family moved from the Middle East to Houston just in time for Hurricane Harvey, and now Irma is threatening her real family home in Florida.
“We move every few years, so I have to make these places my home every time I leave,” Johnson said. “I was just meeting all these friends and we were starting to get together, and I’m feeling comfortable there, and then this happened. And all of those friends that I’ve met have flooded homes and are being displaced and everybody’s leaving.”
Johnson said she has survivors’ guilt because her rental house didn’t flood. Feeling the need to help, Johnson, her husband and two daughters made 140 lunches and passed them out to their neighbors because that’s “the least you could do.”
And now Hurricane Irma is headed for her family home in South Florida.
“So, we’re just sitting here watching kind of helplessly as the only home I really call home in South Florida might not be there. We might not have a home to return to and will just keep moving around I guess.”