Over the past week, Hurricane Irma has brought devastation to property and lives in the Caribbean and the southeastern United States. Florida has been hit particularly hard. Millions of people remain without power, water, and fuel, unsure of the status of their homes and communities.
In the small town of Everglades City, Florida, just south of Marco Island, winds of nearly 140 mph ripped roofs from homes, and wreaked havoc on all wood frame buildings. An eight-foot storm surge inundated the town and surrounding Plantation and Chokoloskee islands, until one story buildings were almost entirely submerged. Power has not, and will not be restored, possibly for weeks. With temperatures in the 90's, high humidity, and no access to air conditioning, flooded homes still standing are succumbing to mold, wildlife infestation, and additional moisture.
Debbie and Ken Dowacter, two longtime residents of Everglades City, have lost everything from Irma. Their home and possessions have been reduced to rubble, the businesses where they work will likely take months to rebuild, if they are rebuilt at all. Debbie, as the manager of the Everglades City Motel, and Ken, as the driver of an iconic Florida airboat, rely on the tourism economy for their livelihoods, which surely will be one of the last industries to recover. Their normal income can no longer be counted on.
In South Carolina, we escaped with temporary flooding and the inconvenience of losing power for 24 to 48 hours. Downed trees and slow drainage kept us home from work for a day or two. Now we’ve returned to our daily routines and creature comforts under sunny skies. Debbie and Ken no longer have the luxury of a daily routine. They are having to ask themselves the hardest questions: Where will we sleep? Where can we find fuel? Where will we cook our next meal? Take our next shower? Will we have jobs when the rubble has been cleared?
These funds will pay for: a generator to run fans, a refrigerator, tools to aid in cleanup and clearing debris. A place to stay while they rebuild. A mattress and box springs, groceries and drinking water. The bare essentials needed to start on the road to recovery. Without the help of insurance on their side, these costs are quickly mounting beyond our means.
As their family, we are asking for help on behalf of Debbie and Ken, so that they can begin to re-build. Any contribution helps them grow closer to regaining their normal lives. Any amount helps relieve the stress of uncertainty. We love them, their community loves them, and we are not afraid to ask for help on their behalf.
Ken and Debbie are in the back row on the left. The rest of us are their family and fundraisers. We greatly appreciate any help you can provide.
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