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Free beer, a boat ride, a helping hand: Neighbors find unique ways to help clean up after Elsa

From St. Marys to Jacksonville, people who know each other and those who never met are helping clean up damage caused by Tropical Storm Elsa.

CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. — A weekend of work is what many families are facing as they deal with damage from Elsa. In Camden County the clean-up is drawing people from near and far.

"He gave me an address and said, 'these people need help so just go do help, do good,'" said Jared Heath with Kingsland Methodist Church as he carried branches off a property hit by the tornado in St. Marys.

Heath, his sister, and his friends from other churches didn't know Randy when they showed up at his house to help clean up damage caused by Elsa.

"Oh yeah, he fed us all lunch!" Heath said about Randy. 

They'd also never met eight-year-old Emma who came to help from next door. Her family's home was also hit by the tornado but came to help right after.

"They came with their bulldozers and their machinery," said Vicky Yarbray. "They're like, 'okay we're gonna clean all this up for you.' And in my mind I'm thinking, 'how much is this gonna cost us? How are we gonna pay them? Whatever the case is.' But it wasn't like that. The community just came together and they're like, 'we're gonna do this for you.' This is what these small towns do. They take care of each other. It just brought tears to my eyes."

Across St. Marys, Brackish Beer Company owners Karen and Jon Preble found their own way to help.

"We couldn't believe that our friends are literally right down the street with serious damage," said Karen Preble.

They're offering a free pint to anyone dealing with damage.

"Just putting a smile on someone's face with a free pint," said Jon Preble. "Had a little bit of damage? Have a beer."

Just south in Jacksonville one man is taking cleanup efforts into his own hands in a different way. After a storm, you can expect to see Rick Wilder and his Yorkie Lance picking up trash on Little Pottsburg Creek.

They fill trash bags with softballs, bicycles, fishing gear, cans, the list goes on.

"I'll pick up probably a whole boatload this time around," said Wilder. "I've sent you several pictures in there, boatloads where I've gone out after storms and it's really bad. After the hurricanes a couple of years ago it took me two weeks, every day going out there just cleaning up."

Wilder says he and Lance are out on the creek three to four times a month. Wilder says he feels good knowing he's doing good, but he also knows he shouldn't have to be doing this at all.

"People come back here all the time commenting how pristine it is," he said about the creek. "They don't realize how much work I've put into it to get it that way."

This is a good reminder to pick up trash you see too. How will you help after Elsa?


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