Work Continues Along the Florida Coast for Hurricane Ian Long-Term Recovery
It’s almost been 6 months since Hurricane Ian devastated the west coast of Florida. Parts of Fort Myers and Punta Gorda were unrecognizable after the storm, but Sanibel Island was especially destroyed. ToolBank Disaster Services (TDS) has a continued presence in the area to help with Hurricane Ian long-term recovery efforts. Our team is committed to staying on the ground after a disaster strikes for as long as our tools and equipment are needed by the community and our disaster services partners. TDS trailers have remained in the Fort Myers / Punta Gorda area since the hurricane hit and it’s stories like the one below that keep us in the community for as long as it takes. Check out this incredible testimonial from the group at The Friends of Randy of Sanibel, Inc.
The Friends of Randy of Sanibel
ToolBank USA was the go-to nonprofit for The Friends of Randy of Sanibel, Inc, (FOROS), a Sanibel Island nonprofit organization. Using ToolBank USA’s extensive inventory of recovery tools, FOROS was able to loan the right tool for the right job to individuals and organizations on Sanibel to rebuild after the worst hurricane in recent history destroyed their livelihoods and property.
On September 28, 2022, Sanibel Island was battered by 150+ mph winds for six hours as the eyewall of Hurricane Ian passed over. In addition to the torrential rain and winds, the hurricane delivered a surge of water reaching 10-12 feet in some places. After the winds, rain, and surge subsided, Sanibel’s residents came back to the island to find utter devastation.
This is where FOROS stepped in. After hearing about ToolBank USA’s impeccable reputation in providing aid, FOROS reached out to Bill Hess, Director of ToolBank Disaster Services (TDS), for help. Bill answered the call immediately. FOROS borrowed a wide variety of tools including pressure washers, electric chainsaws, shovels, rakes, and circular saws.
The beneficiaries of the FOROS / ToolBank partnership included the American Legion Post 123 and several neighborhood families with disabled veterans at home. The interior of Post 123 was completely destroyed. Volunteers, manned with the power washer, shovels, and saws, were able to clean out the interior for groups of professionally skilled volunteers to finish the job.
Neighbors were able to cut away extensive debris that threatening their homes. At least one disabled veteran was able to clean out extensive “muck” and debris from underneath his home which mitigated the growth of deadly black mold.
It is a certainty that without the services of ToolBank USA, FOROS would not have been able to make a difference on Sanibel in the wake of Hurricane Ian. As a result, Post 123 will rise again to serve veterans (disabled or otherwise) and their families by providing a valuable service to the community of Sanibel…. Thank you, Bill, and ToolBank USA!
Hurricane Ian was a large, deadly and destructive Category 4 Atlantic hurricane that caused widespread damage across western Cuba and the southeast United States, especially the states of Florida and South Carolina. It was the ninth named storm, fourth hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season.
Ian caused catastrophic damage with losses currently estimated at $50 billion dollars. The damage was mostly from flooding, with the cities of Fort Myers Beach and Naples particularly impacted. Millions were left without power in the storm’s wake, and several inhabitants were forced to take refuge on their roofs. Sanibel suffered major flooding as well and its causeway collapsed. Pine Island in Lee County, Florida also suffered extreme damage and flooding, with the bridge to Fort Myers being leveled. In total, Hurricane Ian has caused at least 130 fatalities, including 5 people in Cuba, 120 in Florida, and 5 in North Carolina as of October 5, according to local officials.