A Goat Irma Response


The new acronym “G.O.A.T” (Greatest of all time) takes on a new meaning for ESP in reference to the response it received from their Irma recovery cry for support.

Two weeks ago, ESP sent out an urgent plea. Our Camp Hooray property had been hit hard by Tropical Storm Irma. This unexpected damage was costly and a daunting hurdle for our organization. As we surveyed the downed trees and flooded basement, there was a single question: How could we return our camp haven to safety in time for a family fishing day, Fall Festival, and more?

We reached out to the community that supports us so much. And our community exceeded all expectations. From the moment we uploaded that video to Facebook, we started receiving calls with offers of chainsaws and helping hands. A generous donor offered to match the first $10,000 of donations. The Chairs of our cancelled Big Trail and Tug event adapted quickly, pulling in their resources for this new mission.

Over the course of that hectic week, ESP had groups from Neal Construction, Candid Construction, Classic City Tile & Design, Allied Paving, John Waldrop Tree Service, Caterpillar,  Ga Water & Well, and Restore Pros removing fallen limbs and dangerous trees. Individuals like Dave Williams,  Bob Pelon, Tom Bradford, Luke Moore, Coley Whitt, Patti & Russell Knick and Joey Parker removed sodden drywall and eroded landscaping. These supporters committed their own time and resources, during a particularly busy time, to the recovery of our camp.

In just two weeks, ESP raised the needed funds to rebuild our camp home – $59,000 to directly support the recovery efforts. We are so grateful for the support from Athens Seed, Akins Ford, Poling family, Bearden family, Cable East, Wadley Financial Group, CW Matthews, Representative Chuck Williams, Four 40 Partners, Dorfman family, Davis family, and Movement Mortgage. These desperately needed donations will fund waterproofing, building materials, drainage, a new pump, decking materials, roof repairs, landscaping, and more.

The most unexpected gift is the three newest members of our Camp Hooray family: three goats. Hip, Hippy, and Hooray’s names will daily exemplify our celebration in the ESP mission and how our community came together and brought light to Camp Hooray amidst Irma’s tribulations. The goats will clear vegetation and provide animal interaction for our participants.

This overwhelming problem was matched with overwhelming support. It was a humbling reminder of the incredible community that surrounds us and their generous hearts. It is comforting to see how deeply our community believes in giving individuals of all abilities the opportunity to thrive. To stay updated on Camp Hooray’s continued recovery and growth as the first fully-accessible camp built from the ground up, visit camphooray.com.

Katarina Christmann
About The Author

Katarina Christmann

COORDINATOR OF COMMUNICATIONS Katarina Christmann studied Advertising and Art History at the University of Georgia and just graduated in May 2015. Katarina began as a Public Relations and Special Events Intern at ESP. The fast pace and variety of the work at ESP are what drew her to the position, but the kids are what kept her here. Katarina is from St. Simons Island. When she’s not spending time at ESP, Katarina loves baking, reading, and hiking. Katarina is beyond excited to continue her time here at ESP and to put her own touch on things!

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