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A hurricane is one of those things that you have to experience to really understand. For Florida resident Thresha Kilkenny, she understands more than most would ever want to, as she endured Hurricane Irma this past September, not to mention hurricanes Charley, Jeanne and Frances years ago.
As one of our Protector Ambassadors, Thresha is a testament to the human drive to survive and help others in times of dire need. During a recent interview with her, we learned about her compelling story surrounding Hurricane Irma.
BP: Describe what you and your family did before, during and after Hurricane Irma.
TK: Hurricanes aren’t new to us. We know what to expect, but you’re never really sure how bad it’s going to be. Weeks before, we gathered supplies, and grocery stores were already selling out. Days before was when it became crazy. You’d watch fights break out between people waiting for fuel — someone would cut in line. Tempers flared, arrests were made. You see the best and worst come out of people, but more of the best. There was a lot of giving and help.
We tried to tell people to remain calm. We helped our neighbors. You’d go to the store for water and there would be a three case limit, which we’re always told you need more than that to be prepared for a hurricane, but you have to make sure everyone has some. The day after, we drove around for fuel and waited in two separate lines for hours with no luck. We found another line and waited there for three hours before getting fuel.
I also reached for Bug Protector. I found the product last year. In Florida, mosquitoes are a year-round issue, you know? (Laughs.) We do a lot of outdoor stuff, but after the hurricane you couldn’t go outside.
BP: How did our product help?
TK: We have not seen a mosquito influx like that since Charley, Jeanne and Frances. I can’t even explain it. I went out to our chicken coop to check on everything, and the screens were covered, doors covered, ceiling covered. It was just unbelievable. I said to my husband, “I don’t care if we use the whole bottle of Bug Protector.” And I soaked the siding of the building…used it on our dogs too. I did a test spot — made a little circle on the wall — and you could see exactly where I sprayed. You could even see the mosquitoes I sprayed.
It sounds silly, but I was so excited I could see something working and I didn’t have to worry about chemicals and the safety of my family. To find a product like Bug Protector at a time when you have so many other concerns, like how you’re going to find food and fuel — to have that relief is huge.
I have to say thank you from me, my family and my friends. We’ve explained to our kids, “Nobody can do all of the things. Focus on what you can do, that one thing. Some people can give money but not everyone can.” I told my daughter, “This is how we can help.” When you sent us Bug Protector, I handed it out to everyone. When you find a product that works, you have to spread the word.
BP: We’re happy we could provide a bit of relief with all you had going on. What’s something about hurricanes that people may not know?
TK: People don’t realize a lot of the devastation comes after the hurricane. No water means people can’t wash their hands. Think about all of the infectious diseases that can spread from that. We washed our dishes and things as best we could, but water wasn’t just there to use when you needed it. We also didn’t have power for a week. We kept our generator here for half the time, then drove it to my in-laws to use the other half of the day. There’s also such a high demand for debris cleanup that it can take months. Some major highways are still flooded and not open. Even after they do open, they have to be checked for damage and sinkholes. Two local restaurants closed because of sinkholes in their parking lots.
The biggest thing for recovery is getting back up on your feet. The hurricane shut down everything for weeks. For some that’s weeks without work, weeks without wages. Fortunately, our community was real quick about getting food banks open and feeding those in need…and feeding “the line” — all the line workers that came from all over to help. My heart was really full when I saw line workers from Texas. No rest for the weary, right? So many gave up so much to come here and help. I look at them and I feel so grateful for all that we have.
Stories like this truly inspire us to keep making our all natural products and sharing them with others. If you’re interested in becoming a Protector Ambassador like Thresha, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.