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09/28/04 - HURRICANE JEANNE TAKES A SWIPE AT SEBRING/LAKELAND
Sun ’n Fun Grounds Suffer Damage
Lockwood Aviation Okay
Hurricane Jeanne, the fourth hurricane to menace Florida this fall, took direct aim at Sebring and Lakeland, Florida this past weekend.
In Sebring, while various hangars and other facilities on the airport suffered damage, Lockwood Aviation and the Sebring Regional Airport terminal, which will serve as headquarters for the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo to be held October 28-31, escaped significant damage.
Using his cell phone, Phillip Lockwood, president of Lockwood Aviation Supply, called EAA headquarters on Monday afternoon to report that while their buildings suffered some water damage, they expect to be in full operation as soon as power is restored. Phil estimated it may be a day or two before that happens. “We’d like our customers to know we’re okay; we’re just cleaning up some water damage, and waiting for power. But, until power and phone service are restored, anyone calling us will simply get a busy signal.”
Bob Wood, chairman of the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, checked in with EAA officials on Tuesday morning, saying, “Four hurricanes in six weeks have taken their toll, but they haven’t dampened our spirits about the upcoming Expo; it’s still on as scheduled.” Bob added that there’s superficial damage throughout the city of Sebring, with lots of downed trees and damaged roofs. Downed power lines will delay restoring power throughout the city. “But, the city has survived these multiple hurricanes reasonably well, and preparations for the Expo are continuing as scheduled.” For more information about the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, visit www.sport-aviation-expo.com.
In Lakeland, after surviving the previous three hurricanes with little damage, the Sun ’n Fun site sustained significant damage last weekend. Kris LaRose, executive assistant to Sun ’n Fun president John Burton, reported that 105 mph winds ripped the roof off Vintage headquarters, flipped several large walk-in coolers, toppled the announcer’s booth known as Duffy’s Tower, and demolished several guard shacks. Like most of the Lakeland area, the Sun ’n Fun office was without power from early Sunday morning until Monday afternoon. “We now have electricity, phone service, and running water, but we still do not have e-mail service yet,” LaRose said.
While most of the staff made it into the office, some employees remain at home taking care of damage done to their homes. Fallen trees and limbs litter the Sun ’n Fun site as well, according to LaRose, but the roads are clear and maintenance crews and volunteers are already assessing the damage.
It’s too early to tell how the storm will affect the Sun ’n Fun EAA Fly-In scheduled April 12-18, 2005. Volunteers are welcome to help clean up damage to the fly-in’s grounds at Lakeland. Contact the Sun ’n Fun office at 863/644-2431 for more information.