'A good example of humankind working together.' Listen to reader stories about Hurricane Irma
One year ago today Hurricane Irma ripped through Collier County.
The Naples Daily News set up a phone number for readers to share their stories about the storm. We received more than a dozen messages.
Some people evacuated. Some stayed at hurricane shelters and some rode out the storm in their homes. Some left messages thanking others and some talked about the lessons that they learned from Irma.
But the overall theme of the messages were about human kindness. When a natural disaster strikes Southwest Florida, Neapolitans will always be there to help out their neighbors.
Here are some of their stories:
Larry Ewert: "It was a good example of humankind working together"
Larry Ewert evacuated at the last minute to Laurel Oak Elementary. The school supplied some food. He said others who had evacuated were very helpful. They helped carry things in and shared items that they brought.
"It was a good example of humankind working together," Ewert said.
Volunteers helped hand out food and they walked the building to ensure that everyone was safe, he said.
"It was really a good experience."
Mrs. Marsh: "We definitely would not have survived without them"
Mrs. Marsh is 85 years old and is disabled. Her husband is 90 years old and has Parkinson's disease, diabetes and Alzheimer's. They were alone during Hurricane Irma.
After the storm, a couple who lived a few houses down from them brought them food and water and checked up on them.
"We definitely would not have survived without them. I’m very grateful to them," she said. "How do you say thank you to people like this? There's no thank you in the world that’s enough."
Video taken during Hurricane Irma at the Island Walk community in North Naples. Eric Thom
Joan of Naples: “It was an eye opener for me on how lucky I was health-wise”
Joan and her husband evacuated to a hurricane shelter in North Naples. They stayed there for three nights and left the morning after the hurricane. The shelter provided cots, coffee, snacks and food.
"They were wonderful. I can't thank them enough for what they did for us," she said. "It was the first time for them for such a real bad storm and they didn't scare anybody."
Joan said if she could change something, she would have evacuated a week earlier.
"There's nothing more that we could really do."
Bruce Kennedy: “The winds blew so hard as to blow open my deadbolted doors”
Bruce Kennedy lived at St. Matthew's House for eight months before he was able to save up enough money to move into an apartment, which is where he weathered Hurricane Irma.
He said his bed was the only piece of furniture that he had in his apartment.
"I sat and laid (on the mattress) during the hurricane as the winds blew so hard as to blow open my deadbolted doors," Kennedy said.
He lost power at his apartment so he returned to St. Matthew's House.
"Thankfully St. Matthew's House had reopened under self-generated electricity and they allowed me to return there for a week while I continued with my apartment cleanup."
Listen to the rest of the stories below. Having trouble with the audio? Click here.