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Four months later, Mexico Beach residents reflect on continuing recovery and expected changes from Hurricane Michael

MEXICO BEACH — At the end of January, Walton Kinsey was walking through a sandy lot in Mexico Beach. He was surrounded by debris, damaged buildings and the Gulf of Mexico.

His second home used to be at the lot and was cleared after Hurricane Michael. Almost four months later, Kinsey still was processing how the hurricane devastated the small waterfront town that used to be a quaint tourist spot.

“I came down after the storm to see it and I was like everyone else. I was shocked by what I saw,” said Kinsey, who lives in Jacksonville Beach. “When I came here, I didn’t know what to expect. Until you see it, it’s not the same. I’ve been coming down here my whole life. A lot of these houses are ’50s cottages. There’s a lot of memories here.”

Kinsey was one of several members of the Mexico Beach community who reflected on the continuing recovery and said the area could change after it is rebuilt.

Shawna Wood was at her house on Thursday and said dealing with her wind insurance company was her current biggest problem. Her house was damaged but she still is living in it. She owns the Driftwood Inn across the street from her home and is rebuilding the hotel.

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