Georgia Man Holds Cookout for Florida Evacuees Near Highway: 'It Was Beautiful'

Along with his local community, he fed about 2,000 people.

A Georgia man and several volunteers held a large cookout for Florida evacuees on Saturday.

Chad Harrison, who lives in Valdosta, Ga., said he was watching a lot of negative news about Florida residents being stuck on the main highway, I-75, while trying to flee the state ahead of Hurricane Irma, and he wanted to do something to help.

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He decided to ask a couple of co-workers at the auto body shop where he works to chip in and help, but once word spread  of their efforts, donations began to pour in.

“It’s a huge storm," Harrison told "Being from the south, it’s something that we felt like we needed to do. We just take care of our neighbors."

Harrison and other volunteers gathered by the highway and began grilling for anyone who wanted to stop by and eat.

With signs that read, “Free Food For Evacuees,” Harrison and the community were able to feed about 2,000 people. They also filled up several evacuees’ gas tanks.

“It was beautiful,” Harrison said. “I cooked meals. I filled up gas. I filled in where it needed to be, everyone did."

He said the response to the community’s gesture has been great and people were really thankful.

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“People had tears of joy,” Harrison said. “It’s just hard to describe when you see a child who has nothing and all of a sudden, they have to get on the road and run from a Category 5 hurricane. You can imagine the stress level of the parents. They were blessed.”

After Irma’s forecasted path shifted Sunday, a hurricane warning was in effect for Valdosta, which is located right on the Georgia-Florida border.

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