Florida residents with western Mass. ties pick up pieces from Hurricane Ian’s devastation

Florida residents with western Mass. ties pick up pieces from Hurricane Ian’s devastation
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 7:02 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

(WGGB/WSHM) - People with ties to western Massachusetts are picking up the pieces in Florida and others are doing what they can to help after Hurricane Ian left mass devastation in its path.

Greg Madsen, originally from Southampton, spoke with Western Mass News on Wednesday, right before Hurricane Ian was forecasted to hit his home of Fort Myers and on Friday, he gave us an update on the conditions there.

“Just loss, absolute loss. We’re driving around and just…I’ve never seen anything like this,” Madsen explained.

He is a resident director for a senior living facility and told us the roof tore off in the storm and many parts of the building were flooded.

“When the wall of the eye came through the second time, our building was swaying to the point where I get motion sickness, I had to put my head on the table because it was swaying so heavily. I was terrified. I thought the building at some point, I didn’t know,” Madsen added.

They had to evacuate all the residents to another facility in Fort Lauderdale. Thankfully for Madsen, his home and car were not damaged in the storm, but he can’t say the same for the majority of his favorite places in town.

“It looks like a bomb went off. There’s just stuff that was there, that just isn’t even there anymore,” Madsen said.

Madsen is just one of the hundreds of thousands of people in Florida experiencing the aftermath of this storm. In western Massachusetts, organizations are preparing to help out. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield is connecting with their partners down in the southern states.

“They have the capacity to reach out to each of the Catholic Charities in the area and offer them short term assistance, but then also will be able to offer them long-term recovery funds,” said Kathryn Buckley-Brawner, executive director of Catholic Charities in Springfield.

The Salvation Army is teaming up with Western Mass News and our parent company, Gray Television, to collect funds to help those in need.

“Folks who are in need of supplies, whether that’s cleanup kits, whether that’s baby supplies or hygiene items, whether it’s food and meals,” said Emily Mew, deputy director of emergency disaster services for the Salvation Army.

You can help out in efforts by texting STORM to 51555 and donate to the Salvation Army’s relief efforts. All money donated will go directly to those in need.