Stearns, KY man shares Tampa evacuation story

Teacher and photographer Codey Phillips says he's anxious for the safety of his family and friends back in Florida

CARROLLWOOD, Fl./STEARNS, Ky. (WTVQ) – It’s only been four months since Stearns native Codey Phillips packed up for Carrollwood, an area just outside of Tampa, to continue pursuing his dream of being a teacher and photographer.

Monday saw him packing up again to head back home.

“It’s nice to be home, but I feel like I have this cloud over me and things just aren’t really okay and it sucks,” said Phillips.

The high school English teacher says the seriousness of Ian went from rumors to reality fast. Phillips says he was issued an evacuation order Friday, going into work Monday not to teach, but to prepare for Ian, pushing desks together, and covering them in plastic.

Later that day, he joined the exodus out of Tampa, saying it took him two hours to drive 20 miles just to get out of the state.

But the most difficult thing for Phillips to come to terms with is that he never got to talk to his students about the storm.

“I never even really got the chance to talk to my students about it. It stinks. I hope they’re good….if there’s anything I could tell them, it’s just that I love them, and they’re in my thoughts and prayers,” said Phillips.

He remains anxious not only for his students, but his friends, and especially his roommate, who chose to stay in Tampa. He says he’s confident he’ll be fine, but wants to stay in touch as long as he can.

“He’s prepared everything, like windows are going to be sealed…I’m just keeping tabs as long as I can,” said Phillips.

Phillips is staying with family until Ian passes, but says his new home is in his heart and his prayers.

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