Florida broth­ers find shel­ter in Cedar­town

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - Richard Cas­sidy, Deb­bie Wil­son and Regis Cas­sidy pose for a photo this past week af­ter shar­ing their story of how they got to Cedar­town through a two-day drive in Florida to avoid Hur­ri­cane Irma. SJ Correspondent

Sounds of mis­fir­ing en­gines roar in the air as the bik­ers take their Har­ley’s a tri-county cruise for the “Ride Out Pink” char­ity ride held over the week­end.

More than 40 bik­ers came from the sur­round­ing coun­ties to par­tic­i­pate in Bike ride and the fundraiser held on Sat­ur­day, Sept. 22, for the “Beau­ti­ful, Brave and Bold” breast cancer sur­vivors ban­quet.

The crew of bik­ers started their jour­ney down at the Nathan Dean Sports Com­plex then made their way through an hour and a half trip through Cartersville, Rome, and Cedar­town to come back and en­joy­ing food pre­pared for their ar­rival that in­cluded pulled pork and bar­be­cue sand­wiches.

Coretta Green, who headed up the char­ity event and has been run­ning it for the past two years, said it was her hope that lo­cal res­i­dents would con­tinue their sup­port for cancer fundrais­ing ef­forts in Polk County, no mat­ter what form it takes.

But her spe­cific mis- sion is to raise aware­ness for the breast cancer sur­vivors, as well as col­lect funds to help go to­ward a ban­quet for the sur­vivors of breast cancer be­ing held on Oct. 7 at 4 p.m. at the Nathan Dean Cen­ter in Rockmart.

“It is just so elat­ing to see all these guys come out to help sup­port and honor these sur­vivors, t hey are j ust bik­ers against breast cancer.” said Green, “Breast cancer has af­fected these guys one way or an­other so they came down here to sup­port and brought spouses and girl­friends along with them.”

A pair of Florida res­i­dents re­main in Polk County af­ter tak­ing an epic trip across Florida and Geor­gia to reach Cedar­town as they fled from the path of Hur­ri­cane Irma in past weeks.

But get­ting here for Regis and Richard Cas­sidy, 81 and 85 years of age re­spec­tively, was just half the bat­tle.

They were among the 6 mil­lion evac­uees who left Florida in the midst of Hur­ri­cane Irma, but the two didn’t blend into the crowd.

The Cas­sidy broth­ers fled to take shel­ter in Cedar­town, and the duo made their cross- state odyssey with­out a map or GPS.

“Old school­ing it,” re­marked the duo.

“We’d seen our fair share of hur­ri­canes,” Regis Cas­sidy said. “But when weather fore­casts started pre­dict­ing 185 miles per hour winds, we thought it might be a good idea to flee along with ev­ery­one else.”

The broth­ers have spent the last 62 years liv­ing in South Florida’s Broward County with­out hav­ing to evac­u­ate, but be­fore long the two men were bumper-to-bumper traf­fic on the in­ter­state head­ing north, where Regis’ daugh­ter Deb­bie Wil­son of­fered shel­ter.

“We were on the road at 5 a.m. on Thurs­day, and it took 14 hours to travel to Val­dosta where we spent the night,” Richard said. “It took an­other 10 hours to get to Cedar­town.”

The fam­ily re­union be­tween the broth­ers and, Wil­son, and Wil­son’s hus­band Dean Wil­son lasted nine days be­fore the duo re­turned to their mildly dam­aged homes.

“We went out to­gether, we had daily walks, and we talked about old times,” Wil­son said. “It was nice rem­i­nisc­ing.”

Though t he storm’s winds were se­vere and the trip pro­vided some trou­ble, some good things were born out of evac­u­at­ing.

“They haven’t spent much time to­gether since they worked on the Alaskan pipe­line in 1976,” Wil­son said.

The com­mon threat gave the duo rea­son to work to­gether, and the broth­ers were truly re­united af­ter nearly 41 years.

The two men ap­pear to get along well. The broth­ers demon­strate kin­ship by jok­ingly re­fer­ring to each other as Ralph.

“It’s some­thing we’ve done since we were kids,” Regis said.

The broth­ers also share com­mon ground in that they are both re­tired elec­tri­cians who live alone.

It was bad news for the group when Irma threat­ened to hit Polk County.

“We didn’t have any­where to go,” said Wil­son. “We just bunkered up. Luck­ily it wasn’t bad.”

The men’s ex­ten­sive driv­ing wasn’t for noth­ing, and Polk got away with just rain.

The broth­ers re­turned to Florida, but not be­fore meet­ing Michelle Ru­per from State Farm.

“I en­joyed telling about my trav­els, and I got a new At­las for the trip home,” joked Regis.

The two men are now tak­ing it easy back in Florida, but should a hur­ri­cane threaten the area again, the Cas­sidy broth­ers know ex­actly what to do: head north to Polk County, and hope for the best when they get back home.

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