Coastal Branch Library offers shelter

Deborah Wheeler/The Sun
Published: Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 04:13 PM.

The Coastal Branch Library in South Walton became a shelter from the winter storm.

As the area shivered through an almost unprecedented freezing rain and ice storm, businesses, roads and city government were closed. But the library meeting room, which doubles as a shelter, remained open.

Volunteer Cindy Talty said the Coastal Branch Library provided shelter to 12 individuals Wednesday night during the deep freeze. She said a lot of those live in a camp in the woods in Destin and would probably be back Thursday night.

Another person who lives in the woods in South Walton had already left the shelter to go to his job in Blue Mountain Thursday morning, but she suspected he would also return.

One individual the shelter took in is a man named Todd who is temporarily homeless. Todd took shelter at the library Monday night and was still there Thursday morning.

Todd left his home in Minnesota on Dec. 1, he said, heading South. Since then, he has traveled to places such as Myrtle Beach , mostly by bike. He arrived in South Walton on Monday and said he hung out at the beach for a while before hearing about the shelter.

"I've biked my whole life," he told The Sun in a phone interview. "I had never seen the South on a bike and wanted to do that."

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