MacDill officials try to ease minds of Tyndall evacuees

- Dozens of service members who evacuated Tyndall Air Force Base are unsure what their lives will be like after Hurricane Michael destroyed much of the base, including homes and offices.      

On Wednesday, some evacuees in the Tampa area took their questions to MacDill Air Force Base for a town hall meeting.

"So we were prepared for a tropical storm, not a hurricane, and it hit us so fast," said Angie Roberson, who evacuated Tyndall with her husband James and two children. "So when they gave us the mandated evacuation order, they just told us, 'Grab whatever you can,' and that's what we did."

The Robersons with four days’ worth of clothes, arriving in Tampa at Angie's father-in-law's house.

"He kind of opened his doors to us. Of course, he enjoys us being here, so he [doesn't] mind. He said to take as long as you need," said James Roberson of his father.

The Robersons along with many other military families don't know when they will be able to return home. 

"We wanted to get some more information just to see to get Tricare or what new information hasn't been passed down to us," said Angie Roberson.

At least 50 people showed up, asking about reimbursements, doctor's appointments and what happens with upcoming deployments.

"It's a terrible event, and I know a lot of families are really anticipating getting back to their homes if they lived on base," said Col. Edward Phillips of the U.S. Air Force at MacDill Air Force Base. "Today is the first day they allowed families to go and check out the aftermath,"

The Robersons have not seen their home yet. So, for now, they plan to stay with family in Tampa and hope for stability soon.

"I know it's going to be a long process," said James Roberson.

Wednesday's meeting was the first one for evacuees on the base. Officials said military families who evacuated Tyndall can apply for one-time grants to help with their expenses.

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