Florida on the road to recovery after Ian

Hurricane Ian

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. (NewsNation) — A Florida official held back tears as he recounted the devastation his town is facing in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian’s wrath.

Port Charlotte was at the epicenter of Hurricane Ian as the storm made landfall. Thousands of people lined up seeking food and shelter in the days after the hurricane and that demand has not let up as people try to rebuild their homes and lives.

Charlotte County Public Safety Public Information Officer Brian Gleason was emotional as he shared the reality of the hurricane’s aftermath on “Early Morning.”

“Everything had some impact. Some people had severe damage. Some people had light damage, some people had just landscaping damage, and other people had whole roofs torn off,” Gleason said. “There were some injuries and deaths, and it was a devastating event in Charlotte County. And we’re just starting to dig out and get the root recovery,”

Rescue crews, the National Guard and many volunteers have come to Charlotte County to help repair the damage Ian has done to the community.

“It’s been a big push to get things back to normal as far as power, internet connectivity, cell phone service, people getting food and water and ice is a big deal. Gas is a big deal. But that’s the case in every hurricane,” Gleason said.

He said it has been incredible to watch all the different organizations come together to help everyone affected by the storm.

Gleason paused as his emotions began to waver: “I had light damage — family’s safe … and I’m just gonna help.”

While Gleason is at work, he is helping other people in his community get back on their feet, but when he goes home at night, he faces the reality of the storm with his own family.

And while insurance is helpful to have, it doesn’t cover everything and it can be costly for people before insurance can kick in and start to help those affected, Gleason explained.

“And I had a conversation with my wife yesterday, about the insurance part of it. A lot of people talked about, you know, this, your insurance cover depends on the policy,” Gleason said. “Some people could be facing five-figure payouts, just going to cover the deductible … But you know, who’s got $15,000 laying around to cover the deductible to replace a roof, to repair soffits and lights and fencing. So that’s something that’s a concern for a lot of people.”

“This is an elderly community,” Gleason continued, “And some folks will struggle to meet those deductibles.”

But there is a long road to recovery ahead for Port Charlotte and the surrounding counties that were affected by Hurricane Ian. Gleason said they are expecting power to be back on Sunday for 95% of the community, but it is a step toward recovery that has shed some light in the aftermath of this storm.

Find out how you can help in Hurricane Ian’s recovery here.

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