JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- The dune system that protected the beaches community from Hurricane Matthew near 15th Avenue South beach is gone, except a few right near the walkway. Neighbors say they have a very significant meaning.
Jordan Simpson and her sister Ashley Butler clean up in front of their 1st Street house. It's a house they have many memories of.
"The first memory I have is like 5 years old having Sunday dinner here with my great-grandmother," said Simpson. "We grew up here for most of our childhood and through our teen years."
They moved away but then came back and rebuilt the house that they now share.
So, when they saw the devastation on the news, like the flooding from the storm surge, they were worried about their house that's a block away from the ocean.
"We were like worst case scenario, we may have to live somewhere else for a few months," said Simpson.
But when they got home they found no water in their house. The surge just came up to their driveway. When you look in front of their house, it's easy to see the reason. The dunes are still intact.
"We lost our mom when we were young, and we put her ashes in the ocean. We really feel like it's a miracle that our mom was watching over us," said Butler. "All of the other dunes are gone but those. It's a blessing."
Their mom passed away in 1999. Her ashes were spread in front of their house near the dunes that saved it. And now as they clean up tree limbs and sea grass, they think about how bad the damage could have been, and thank their mom.
"To me it's just so special because I feel like it's my mom watching over us," said Butler.