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Frame The Importance of

Commercial Truck Insurance in Palatka, FL

  • Let's face it - truckers in America have always been the backbone of our great country. They still are in modern times. On any given day, thousands of trucks traverse our highways and local roads, delivering goods and products on time so that businesses and consumers have what they need to live life. And while commercial trucking can be an incredibly lucrative way to make a living and put food on the table, it can also be risky and expensive.
  • Whether you're the owner of a fleet, an independent trucker, or have a business that uses big rigs to transport goods, you need commercial trucking insurance to protect you and your client's investments, shield you from liability, and more.
  • That's where working with a reliable truck insurance agency comes into play. Unfortunately, for many commercial truck insurance providers, serving the needs of truckers is low on the proverbial totem pole. At Independence Insurance Agency, nothing could be further from the truth.

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percent The Commercial Truck

Insurance Agency in Palatka, FL You Can Trust

Much like you pride yourself on running a successful trucking business, Independence Insurance Agency prides itself on its years of experience providing truck insurance for hardworking men and women across the country. And in our experience, insurance rates for truckers are just too high - so high, in fact, that they eat away at their bottom line, making it more difficult to run a business and make a profit. Fortunately, at Independence Insurance Agency, we provide truckers the freedom they need from astronomically high insurance rates so they can stay on the road and keep driving America forward.

As one of the most trusted commercial trucking insurance agencies in the U.S., we understand the challenges that you face daily as a trucker. We also know how important it is to protect your business. That's why we go above and beyond to find you the best-priced coverage available, whether you're an operator, own a small fleet, a large fleet, or something in between.

Commercial Truck Insurance Palatka, FL

We Put Truckers First Because Others Don't

 Truck Insurance Palatka, FL

Truckers across the country choose to work with Independence Insurance Agency because we put their needs first before anything else. As experts in transportation insurance, we proudly offer a range of quality insurance products that are both practical and affordable for them. Our industry-leading carriers provide coverage that caters to the unique challenges faced by the trucking industry, ensuring that your business is protected at all times.

At our core, we are committed to finding the best possible price for your coverage without compromising the quality of service you deserve. The truth is, we understand how essential truckers are to the United States and take pride in making their insurance experience more streamlined and affordable.

One way we do so is by simplifying the insurance process. Our transportation specialists take the time to understand your specific needs and budget to tailor a comprehensive plan that works for you. You won't ever have to worry about cookie-cutter plans or uninterested agents when you work with our commercial trucking insurance agency. We take an educational approach to ensure that the entire big rig insurance process is quick, painless, and easy to understand. If there's something you don't understand, we're happy to take the time to explain. After all, the success and safety of your business are on the line.

Looking to the future, we are committed to providing innovative new products that cater to the ever-changing needs of truck drivers. As your one-stop shop for commercial trucking insurance, we are dedicated to your success, one policy at a time.

If you're a commercial trucker looking to ensure your rig, you can rest easy knowing that Independence Insurance Agency provides:

  • Affordable Trucking Insurance Plans for Any Budget
  • Exemplary Customer Service
  • Seasoned Transportation Specialists Who Customize Plans to Your Needs
  • A+ Carriers Across the Country
  • Simple, Easy Quote and Bind Process
  • Multiple Insurance Carriers Quoted to Find You the Best Rates
  • Truck Insurance for New Ventures

Call us or send us a message today to learn more about the best 18-wheeler insurance options for your trucking business.

chart The Commercial Truck

Common Types of Big Rig Truck Insurance in Palatka, FL

At Independence Insurance Agency, we offer several types of insurance coverage for local, intermediate, and long-haul trucking needs. Here are just a few categories of trucking insurance coverage that our agency offers.

As the foundation of your insurance policy, liability coverage is required by law in most states in the U.S. It provides coverage for damage or injuries caused to properties or other people if your 18-wheeler is responsible for the crash. Without liability coverage, it's almost impossible to drive a truck or run a trucking business without major legal consequences.

Having physical damage coverage is an essential component that shouldn't be overlooked. This insurance is responsible for covering the expenses related to repairing or replacing your truck in situations such as accidents, theft, vandalism, and other damaging events. By having this coverage, you can rest assured that your business won't be affected significantly by unexpected incidents, and you can continue running your operations smoothly even in challenging times.

For trucking companies, the goods they transport are crucial to their operations. To protect these goods from damage, loss, or theft while in transit, cargo insurance is essential. This coverage provides much-needed peace of mind for both you and your clients, allowing you to reimburse clients for any losses sustained while protecting your reputation and brand identity.

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance is designed to cover property damage or bodily injury that may occur during personal time when the driver/truck is not under dispatch. This coverage can be applied with or without a trailer and is added to a commercial policy as an endorsement.

While Independence Insurance Agency has built a reputation of excellence in serving the needs of truckers, we also offer general liability. Also known as Truckers General Liability, this coverage insures for bodily injuries or property damage that happen due to business activities that are NOT the cause of operating a truck. It covers accidents that occur in parking lots, rest stops, also while loading or unloading. General liability can also cover losses related to theft and vandalism. Most brokers and shippers will require this coverage to work with you.

Bobtail insurance is a type of coverage that is comparable to non-trucking liability, which is designed to offer protection when driving a truck without a trailer attached. This is commonly referred to as "bobtailing." With bobtail insurance, the tractor is covered at all times, even when it is not attached to a trailer, regardless of whether or not the truck is under dispatch.

Trailer interchange insurance is a must-have if you're involved in a trailer interchange agreement. This essential coverage offers protection for trailers owned by other parties that you're using under a contractual agreement. It covers damages caused by collisions, fire, theft, and vandalism, providing assurance to all parties involved.

Curious whether our commercial truck insurance agency in cityname, state offers additional coverage? The following options can be bound in your insurance policy:

  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Reefer Breakdown Insurance
  • Occupational Accident with Contract Liability Insurance
  • Rental Reimbursement Insurance
  • Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Insurance
  • Towing Insurance
  • Electronics Insurance
  • Much More

Three plus 3 Safe Driving Tips to

Lower the Cost of Truck Insurance in Palatka, FL

Keeping your drivers safe on the road is crucial not only for their own well-being but also for the safety of other motorists and the financial stability of your business. The Department of Labor has identified the trucking industry as one of the most hazardous sectors in the U.S. In fact, trucking and logistics fleets are known for their high injury and fatality rates. By improving how safely your truckers drive, you can help reduce expenses related to claim payouts, accidents, and insurance premium hikes.

Whether you own a large fleet or you're the owner and operator of a single rig, keep these safe driving tips in mind to help lower your insurance costs.

Implement Preventative Maintenance Plans

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

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 Trucking Insurance Palatka, FL

Practice Defensive Driving

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
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 Commercial Liability Insurance For Truckers Palatka, FL

Find Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

phone Call Now
 Commercial Truck Insurance Quote Palatka, FL

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

 Low Priced Commercial Truck Insurance Palatka, FL phone Call Now

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
Commercial Truck Insurance Palatka, FL phone Call Now

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

 Truck Insurance Palatka, FL phone Call Now

check light FAQs About

Independence Insurance Agency

If you're looking for a commercial trucking insurance agency for your business, chances are you have some questions - and we've got answers. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most commonly asked questions we hear from truckers like you.

Why go with a "jack of all trades" when you can work with specialists who focus exclusively on transportation insurance? We have excellent relationships with major trucking insurance carriers and, as such, can provide the best assistance and reasonable rates.

Typically, companies will look at claims that date back three years or less.

We proudly work with more than 20 carriers to provide our clients with the most advantageous options at competitive prices, catering to the needs of owner-operators and big fleets alike.

Permit filings are typically done by insurance companies on the next business day. Federal (FMCSA) filings are completed online and updated immediately, while some states may take up to three weeks to process.

Independence Insurance Agency: Committed to the Trucking Industry

There's no question about it - you've got to protect your staff, your rig, and your trucking business with insurance. But choosing the right insurance partner isn't always easy. Thankfully, with Independence Insurance Agency by your side, you can rest easy knowing you're covered no matter where the road takes you. If you're in need of a commercial truck insurance agency in Palatka, FL that caters to truckers like you, pick up the phone and contact one of our transportation specialists today. That way, you can get back on the road with confidence tomorrow.

 Trucking Insurance Palatka, FL

Latest News in Palatka, FL

New Year’s plans scheduled throughout Putnam

BodyThere are numerous events taking place in the coming days for people to wave goodbye to 2023 and welcome 2024.Listed below are just some of the events slated to occur across the county:SUNDAY– A 2023 New Year’s Eve Celebration will be from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday at 109 North Beech St.The event will be themed “Double for Your Trouble” and will feature guest speakers Apostle A.J. Fisher at 11 a.m. and Bishop K. Woodard at 10 p.m.Fish and grits will be served...

Body

There are numerous events taking place in the coming days for people to wave goodbye to 2023 and welcome 2024.

Listed below are just some of the events slated to occur across the county:

SUNDAY

– A 2023 New Year’s Eve Celebration will be from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday at 109 North Beech St.

The event will be themed “Double for Your Trouble” and will feature guest speakers Apostle A.J. Fisher at 11 a.m. and Bishop K. Woodard at 10 p.m.

Fish and grits will be served after the 10 p.m. service. The public is invited.

– New Beginning Baptist Church, 915 S. Moody Road in Palatka, will host a gospel concert featuring Billy Walker starting at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Walker was named a nominee for the Top 10 Favorite New Artist Singing New Fan Award in 2023. He also was a nominee for Gospel/Christian/Inspirational Album of the Year by Josie Music Awards this year for “The Final Score.” He received recognition for Gospel Song of the Year as a nominee for “The Gospel Truth.”

Walker performed Oct. 22 at the Grand Ole Opry House.

The concert is free but a love offering will be accepted for Walker.

– New Life Temple Fellowship Inc. will have a Watch Night service beginning at 7 p.m. Sunday at 161 W. Louis Broer Road in East Palatka. Bishop Mark Jones is presiding prelate and Carol Jones is the pastor. For details, call Minnie Hagans at 386-546-3749.

– Azalea City Brewing Co., 120 S. Seventh St. in Palatka, will host a New Year’s Eve celebration from 1 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

Highlights will include the Bacon and Bubbles Food Truck from 2-6 p.m., Papa Ray’s BBQ from 6-10 p.m., trivia by John Skidmore and Mike Eidson from 8-10 p.m., and DJ Johns entertaining from 10 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. A beer or champagne toast at midnight will be half-price. For details, call Andrea Conover or the bartender at 386-530-2084.

– The Cheyenne Saloon New Year’s Eve Party with music by Davy Daniels will start at 8 p.m. Sunday.

There will be no cover charge but there will be party favors, free champagne at midnight, and a meal of black-eyed peas, rice, pork, and sauerkraut after midnight. The public is invited.

MONDAY

– St. Monica Catholic Church, 114 S. Fourth St. in Palatka, invites the community to join them for their New Year’s Day Mass at 10 a.m. Monday. For details, call 386-325-9777.

– Celebrate Recovery Live Concert will feature Halfway to Heaven Band starting at 7 p.m. Monday at Life Church, 2701 Reid St. in Palatka. Highlights will include a barbecue starting at 5:45 p.m.

The event will be outdoors and guests should bring a lawn chair. The public is invited.

New Year’s plans scheduled throughout Putnam

BodyThere are numerous events taking place in the coming days for people to wave goodbye to 2023 and welcome 2024.Listed below are just some of the events slated to occur across the county:SUNDAY– A 2023 New Year’s Eve Celebration will be from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday at 109 North Beech St.The event will be themed “Double for Your Trouble” and will feature guest speakers Apostle A.J. Fisher at 11 a.m. and Bishop K. Woodard at 10 p.m.Fish and grits will be served...

Body

There are numerous events taking place in the coming days for people to wave goodbye to 2023 and welcome 2024.

Listed below are just some of the events slated to occur across the county:

SUNDAY

– A 2023 New Year’s Eve Celebration will be from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday at 109 North Beech St.

The event will be themed “Double for Your Trouble” and will feature guest speakers Apostle A.J. Fisher at 11 a.m. and Bishop K. Woodard at 10 p.m.

Fish and grits will be served after the 10 p.m. service. The public is invited.

– New Beginning Baptist Church, 915 S. Moody Road in Palatka, will host a gospel concert featuring Billy Walker starting at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Walker was named a nominee for the Top 10 Favorite New Artist Singing New Fan Award in 2023. He also was a nominee for Gospel/Christian/Inspirational Album of the Year by Josie Music Awards this year for “The Final Score.” He received recognition for Gospel Song of the Year as a nominee for “The Gospel Truth.”

Walker performed Oct. 22 at the Grand Ole Opry House.

The concert is free but a love offering will be accepted for Walker.

– New Life Temple Fellowship Inc. will have a Watch Night service beginning at 7 p.m. Sunday at 161 W. Louis Broer Road in East Palatka. Bishop Mark Jones is presiding prelate and Carol Jones is the pastor. For details, call Minnie Hagans at 386-546-3749.

– Azalea City Brewing Co., 120 S. Seventh St. in Palatka, will host a New Year’s Eve celebration from 1 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

Highlights will include the Bacon and Bubbles Food Truck from 2-6 p.m., Papa Ray’s BBQ from 6-10 p.m., trivia by John Skidmore and Mike Eidson from 8-10 p.m., and DJ Johns entertaining from 10 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. A beer or champagne toast at midnight will be half-price. For details, call Andrea Conover or the bartender at 386-530-2084.

– The Cheyenne Saloon New Year’s Eve Party with music by Davy Daniels will start at 8 p.m. Sunday.

There will be no cover charge but there will be party favors, free champagne at midnight, and a meal of black-eyed peas, rice, pork, and sauerkraut after midnight. The public is invited.

MONDAY

– St. Monica Catholic Church, 114 S. Fourth St. in Palatka, invites the community to join them for their New Year’s Day Mass at 10 a.m. Monday. For details, call 386-325-9777.

– Celebrate Recovery Live Concert will feature Halfway to Heaven Band starting at 7 p.m. Monday at Life Church, 2701 Reid St. in Palatka. Highlights will include a barbecue starting at 5:45 p.m.

The event will be outdoors and guests should bring a lawn chair. The public is invited.

Historic houses being put on display

13 properties to be on Tour of HomesImageBodyHere’s a chance to take a peek inside a northside Palatka home that dates back more than 100 years.The home is the circa 1916 Wilson-Cypress House, 407 Mulholland Park, which will be part of the Woman’s Club of Palatka’s 2023 Christmas Tour of Homes on Saturday.The tour, which will last from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., will cross two historic districts and begin at the group’s headquarters, 600 S. 13th St. in Palatka.According to event ...

13 properties to be on Tour of Homes

Image

Body

Here’s a chance to take a peek inside a northside Palatka home that dates back more than 100 years.

The home is the circa 1916 Wilson-Cypress House, 407 Mulholland Park, which will be part of the Woman’s Club of Palatka’s 2023 Christmas Tour of Homes on Saturday.

The tour, which will last from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., will cross two historic districts and begin at the group’s headquarters, 600 S. 13th St. in Palatka.

According to event coordinator Elizabeth van Rensburg, there will be 13 properties on the tour, only two of which have been on the tour before, and they are scattered around downtown Palatka and beyond.

“We are showcasing homes of all sizes and shapes,” she said. “We have everything from tiny cottages to local landmarks. Some of the more notable properties include the Wilson-Cypress House, the Old Governor’s Mansion and the Campbell House.”

Tour tickets are $30 per person, with cash or checks accepted. Tickets are available in downtown Palatka at Ladybugs Gifts Shop, Miss D’s Quilts, Azalea City Brewing Co. and Lemon Street Market as well as at Blue Water Jewelers in St. Augustine. Tickets can also be purchased at the door at the Woman’s Club.

Tour-goers will bring their tickets to the clubhouse to receive armbands and programs. The tour begins in whatever order individuals choose.

“They might start at one of the outlying homes – for example, the historic Civil War-era home at Browns Landing – or either begin with a Victorian home in the South Historic District,” van Rensburg said. “It is a park and walk tour and those who participate will be able to go into private homes that have been decorated for the season.”

Proceeds from the tour will go to fund campers at Camp Boggy Creek, a camp in Eustis for children with medical issues.

The Wilson-Cypress Home was once owned by Fred Herbert Wilson, son of A.E. Wilson, cofounder of Wilson Cypress Co., the second-largest cypress mill in the world at one time, according to a press release.

The Wilson-Cypress House stayed in the Wilson family until six years ago when it was bought by husband and wife, Bob Morgan and Beverly Genader.

“Most of the original features remain, although we did just do a complete remodel on the kitchen,” Genader said.

“We also did a complete restoration that took about 18 months,” Morgan said.

Genader said the home has an interesting story beginning when Fred Wilson married Mollie Stewart Braithwaite, who was born in Belfast, Ireland, and had a fear of snakes.

So, the couple’s home was designed with Prairie School architecture, which included horizontal emphasis with broad overhanging eaves, contrasting types of exterior materials, narrow paired windows and a bungalow-type porch.

When asked what drew him to the historic home, Morgan said his response was “largely the design” and for its location, “deep water, high elevation.”

Morgan and Genader have found lots of use in living in their three-story home, which includes a basement.

“We both love old homes,” Genader said. “We live in the two stories and our grandchildren keep their toys and play on the third floor.”

The couple said their home has some unique things about it, too.

“The eclectic use of cypress shingles and clapboard and glass and lead,” Morgan said. “We believe it is rare. The boathouse, while having numerous design changes, is truly unique. Like the Wilson mill property, the boathouse has deeded submerged land ownership, which is very rare.”

Genader believes this year’s tour of homes is the first time her home will be shown to the public.

“We wanted to do it because it sounds like fun and we commonly have large get-togethers,” she said. “We moved here because Bob wanted to get away from winter weather and to a more business-friendly state.”

Two homes on this year’s tour have never been open to the public, including the one owned by van Rensburg, and other residents never expected to have the opportunity to get a look inside.

“I’m personally and extremely excited about this fundraiser,” van Rensburg said. “It has been eight years since Palatka has had a Christmas Tour of Homes. Many of our homeowners are new residents in our community and they are excited to be here with us. It is a giant tour. I don’t believe we have ever had more than eight homes on a tour, at least in the nearly 20 years I’ve lived here.”

Genader likes to think of the Wilson family who first owned her home all those years ago and the idea that they raised their children in a house that would be passed down from generation to generation.

Morgan and Genader, who also own homes in New York and Connecticut, said owning a home like their Palatka residence requires ongoing repairs and upgrades and wouldn’t quite fit the bill as their dream home.

“We love all of our homes,” Morgan said. “A dream house would be an age-friendly design with no repairs through our lives with a dramatic oceanfront with the clearest water. So no, none of our places are the dream places, but they come close.”

Community mourns 16-year-old’s passing

By Sarah Cavacini and Brandon D. OliverFamily members, friends, school employees and church officials are seeking solace through unity as they mourn the passing of a Palatka Junior-Senior High School student who was struck by lightning earlier this week.Baylee Holbrook, 16, died at 9:32 a.m. Thursday, according to a Facebook post by Trinity Baptist Church in Palatka.“Our entire community is completely devastated by Holbrook’s loss,” Putnam County School District Superintendent Rick Surrency said in a st...

By Sarah Cavacini and Brandon D. Oliver

Family members, friends, school employees and church officials are seeking solace through unity as they mourn the passing of a Palatka Junior-Senior High School student who was struck by lightning earlier this week.

Baylee Holbrook, 16, died at 9:32 a.m. Thursday, according to a Facebook post by Trinity Baptist Church in Palatka.

“Our entire community is completely devastated by Holbrook’s loss,” Putnam County School District Superintendent Rick Surrency said in a statement.

Holbrook’s friends and family gathered Wednesday morning and evening to pray for Holbrook’s recovery.

“The outpouring of love at Wednesday night’s vigil showed just how much she meant to her friends and community members,” Surrency stated.

Trinity Baptist had opened its doors at noon Thursday for anyone who wished to pray for and reflect on Holbrook and her family but soon moved it to the C.L. Overturf District Center after receiving an outpouring of support from people who wanted to honor Holbrook, according to a Facebook post from the church.

Hundreds of people showed up to Thursday evening’s prayer vigil, which lasted nearly two hours. Palatka High Principal Cathy Oyster said numerous people spoke about the well-loved 11th grader who had a positive impact on many people, no matter their background or social group.

“She transcended every group of kids,” Oyster said before the vigil. “She was the most inclusive loving kid you could meet.”

The high school junior had been hunting with her father Tuesday evening when lightning struck a tree, which fell on the pair, according to a Putnam County Sheriff’s Office report.

Holbrook and her father lost consciousness, but her father woke up and began CPR on his daughter, the report states. Emergency rescue officials took Holbrook to HCA Florida Putnam Hospital, where she was stabilized before being moved to UF Health in Gainesville, the sheriff's office stated.

Friends and family lined the Gainesville hospital’s hallways for Holbrook, said Trinity Baptist Pastor Willie B. McKinnon III, who is also the family’s spokesman.

“As I got off of that elevator last night inside of (UF Health) in Gainesville and I look, and I see the hallways lined with people on their knees praying … I see the hundreds of people that are sitting there, man, it brings a tear to your eye because this community, when one of their own are hurt, they come out in full force to support them, to be there for them,” McKinnon said Wednesday.

Holbrook was a Palatka High varsity cheerleader who enjoyed hunting and boating and had begun pursuing photography, McKinnon said. He said Holbrook had been hunting a big buck when she and her father were injured.

Oyster said her students were devastated when they learned of Holbrook’s passing. After hearing the news Thursday morning, students got together to pray for their classmate, Oyster said.

Although Holbrook was a varsity cheerleader, Thursday night’s Palatka High junior varsity football game was canceled to allow students a chance to grieve. Oyster said Palatka High’s varsity would continue as planned Friday evening at Tocoi Creek High School in St. Augustine, a decision Palatka High football players and cheerleaders discussed Thursday morning.

Holbrook’s interactions weren’t limited to school. She was also a huge part of Trinity Baptist’s youth group, McKinnon said.

“She was the one on Wednesday nights, on Sunday mornings, testing her peers here at the school, her friends, her loved ones," McKinnon said. "‘Hey, hope to see you at church. Hope to see you there.’ Because she always wanted to see people better than who they were. And her main goal was to make sure they had every opportunity to accept Jesus Christ into their heart.”

On Thursday, Facebook posts showed just how much Holbrook was loved. People posted on her Facebook page about how much she will be missed and how many people’s lives she touched.

“District and school counselors are currently meeting with students to help them process this tremendous loss,” Surrency stated. “The school district will continue to support Holbrook’s family and friends in the days to come.”

Palatka High’s guidance counselors have been playing a vital role in helping Holbrook’s classmates, as well as the faculty and staff, cope with the sadness that has washed over the school since people learned about the lightning strike, Oyster said.

She praised them, as well as the mental health counselors the school district sent to Palatka High. The youth resource deputies have also given students an emotional outlet, said Oyster, who is grateful for the sense of community these resources provide.

Oyster stressed the need to continue mental health services at her school after many people, herself included, got emotional during Thursday’s vigil as people spoke about their interactions with Holbrook.

“We’ve been very blessed,” she said. “We’ve had guidance counselors on-hand … not only at the school, but at the hospital.”

Palatka High senior eager to portray troubled holiday figure

BodyAs an actor, Andrew McClellan doesn’t mind stepping into someone else’s shoes. It’s a familiar place for the Palatka Junior-Senior High School senior, and he will do so again when the school’s theater department presents the Christmas classic, “A Christmas Carol,” during the next two weekends.It is not the Palatka resident’s first rodeo in acting. In fact, it is something he has done many times before.The 18-year-old’s repertoire includes a long list of shows that start...

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As an actor, Andrew McClellan doesn’t mind stepping into someone else’s shoes. It’s a familiar place for the Palatka Junior-Senior High School senior, and he will do so again when the school’s theater department presents the Christmas classic, “A Christmas Carol,” during the next two weekends.

It is not the Palatka resident’s first rodeo in acting. In fact, it is something he has done many times before.

The 18-year-old’s repertoire includes a long list of shows that started when he was in the third grade and played Chip in the Palatka High show, “Beauty in the Beast,” double cast with Branam McDaniel in the same role.

“Being on stage allows me to do things that I wouldn’t normally be able to do,” he said. “My experience and ever-developing knowledge of the craft allows me to bring a piece of myself to each character that I have portrayed.”

The Charles Dickens novelette will be performed by the theater group at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday as well as Dec. 7-9 at the Jim Pignato Theater at the C.L. Overturf Jr. District Center, 1100 S. 18th St. in Palatka. Matinee shows will be 2:30 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 10.

All seats are reserved and sell for $15 in advance at Ralph’s House of Flowers, 605 St. Johns Ave., suite 101, in Palatka, or $20 at the door while they last. Ralph’s is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-noon.

Jim Pignato, the theater group’s director, said his students first produced the show in 2016 when McClellan played a little boy named Jonathon.

“Andrew has grown and matured vocally and most recently played the Genie in ‘Aladdin’ and Barrett in ‘Titanic,’” Pignato said.

Pignato said the play focuses on Ebenezer Scrooge, who is a miserly and miserable man.

“His old partner, Jacob Marley, sends a message to him that he needs to change his ways or he will end up in a bad place,” Pignato said. (Marley) sends three ghosts – the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Future – to show Scrooge how bad his life has been and will continue to be if he doesn’t turn it around.

“We performed this show seven years ago and have had requests for doing it again. People love a Christmas-theme show this time of year.”

McClellan, who will graduate in 2024, has had lots of opportunities with the Palatka High theater group, including performing with his younger sister, Caroline, 11, who was also cast in this show as Fan Scrooge, Ebenezer’s little sister.

“It is cool that my sister in real life plays my sister in this show,” Andrew said. “It’s nice to be able to share the stage with her again, especially since this is my senior year.”

Andrew plans to attend a four-year university to study musical theater or some aspect of the arts.

Andrew’s accolades in theater came in 2015 when he played Chip and played Michael Hobbs in “Elf Jr.” In 2016, he performed as Michael Banks in “Mary Poppins” and played Jonathan in “A Christmas Carol.”

McClellan said he doesn’t have a favorite show because he has loved each role he has portrayed.

“It’s all relative to how I’m feeling at that moment,” he said. “There is always someone I have become on stage that has helped me in some aspect of my life.”

Andrew described his part as Scrooge as a greedy old man and said it will be a departure from the types of roles he’s previously played.

“This is a much different role than what I am used to and quite a contrast to the role I had as Genie this time last year,” he said. “I am excited to show people a different side of me in this performance.”

McClellan said the theme of the show is that the pursuit of money will not make one happy and that people need to always be kind and generous.

“This show is a Christmas classic,” he said. “It is like a lesson-learned type of message. That a second chance is always possible.”

McClellan is excited to see the audience’s reaction to the upcoming show.

“I feel privileged to have been able to be a part of this wonderful program for as long as I have,” he said. “And I look forward to what Mr. P has planned for the spring.”

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