Tuesday was the 6-month mark since Hurricane Ian veered right and pummeled Fort Myers Beach. When the storm surge subsided, the rain stopped and the wind died down, lives were lost, structures were destroyed, paradise was flattened. We hosted a special show at La Ola on Tuesday with a stellar lineup of guests.
Our first guests was Joe Orlandini, a Fort Myers Beach resident, a builder, and someone who’s been helping residents on the beach move forward and rebuild their homes and lives.
Up next, the former owners of Pete’s Time Out, a restaurant that sat in the middle of Times Square for decades. A restaurant that was swept away by the Gulf of Mexico. Debbie and John Lallo helped create Beach Talk Radio nearly 5 years ago when they allowed us to broadcast from the famous table 23 outside their restaurant. In addition to losing a decades-long family business Ian also severely damaged their home in Alva.
Following the Lallo’s was Mayor Dan Allers. You can watch our segment with the Mayor HERE.
Finally, we ended the show with Karen Paine who told us the gut-wrenching story of how she evacuated the beach but her husband and dog stayed behind. That was not a wise choice. You can watch that segment from the show HERE.
Watch the full show HERE.
Thank You Ed and Kim
No doubt it will change, but mostly all the wonderful old Fl. Beach bars will have to be up to code, rightfully so. That will change the landscape. When I saw MArgaritaville…………I knew things were going to change. Just sad Ian had to be that change. I’ve lived through a few of these in the Caribbean. I have friends that have lost their home twice in Anguilla, friends on St Croix still reeling from Irma and Maria back to back. There buy the Grace of God go I. We got lucky. Nothing more. Drove down to FMB 2 weeks ago. Loved seeing the food trucks, the people and the beach alive and people enjoying. Our first trip there was 40 years ago. It is a magical place and always will be.
We started our journey to FMB when my cousin bought a condo in Fort Myers. I love the beach so we planned a trip to see what it was all about. We fell in love with FMB. So in 2015 we started our adventure and bought our first rental duplex on Anchorage, then Estero Beach Club and Estero Island Yacht & Racquet. We spent 5 months during covid at our condo EIYR. We met a lot of great friends there. We then bought at Ocean Harbor where we spent lots of long weekends. We love it here so much that we bought in Bonita Springs and live here full time.
We were at our condo and left that Monday before Ian. Our heart goes out to everyone that stayed and experienced the trauma, lost family, friends, pets, homes and businesses.
Our first trip to FMB was so heart breaking. Its hard to see the island in such distress but our hope is that it will come back and we’ll have many new memories on FMB. There has been a lot of progress in the past 6 months. I can’t wait to see how it will look in another 6 months.
It’s certainly been quite the adventure. Although not in a good way. I am so sorry for everyone’s losses. I also cry every time I drive off the island. The only thing I have to say is that I am sickened by our local Government, who are now keeping all the devastation still going on a secret, so as not to deter people from coming here. I have many questions regarding this. Is our water safe to swim in? I don’t feel it is and I want to warn everyone I see in flip-flops that they can get hurt from debris still in the water, or a bacteria that will eat their skin away, but I don’t. I am sorry if anyone, especially a child that trusts their parents judgement, gets hurt while visiting our shores while we and the Gulf are still healing. Stop the secrets. I have family that live far away from Florida, and they are not hearing anything about what we are still going through. They only see commercials welcoming them to our Gulf Coast destination. It’s heartless and needs to stop. At least until next season when hopefully there will be more healing done by then. Sending Love and Light to all!
Six months ago who would have ever imagine the magnitude of what was about to change our island forever. Watching the weather channel that afternoon they were showing you what happens during a storm surge you sort of grasp it but still you say no they always say that and we have had bad hurricances Donna, Charlie, Rita and Wilma that brought the wind but no one could have prepared us for what was about to happen. This time TWC was dead on to what was about to take place and viewing the images people were posting that stayed behind felt surreal and my heart sank. Those images of the pink cottage floating of its foundation and seeing the aftermath the day after of the damage to our beautiful island made my weep. A few days after the hurricane I found on facebook Beach Talk Radio who were boots on the ground informing and organizing where we could help either monetary or hands on. Every day it gave me somewhere to go to see what I could do being miles away and they still Ed and Kim are the mainstream in getting information out to all of us. My heart also broke when I finally learned that the Women’s Club off of sterling was did not survive the storm. I was President for five years and during that tenure I along with the older members worked hard to bring the club up to code and now it was gone with only my memories to hold on to. If anything I learned from Ian is the force of the ocean and how it took everything with it when it receded.
6 months since Hurricane ian
6 months ago realizing just how precious life is.
As I sat and prayed I asked god to keep me and my family safe. I didn’t cry, I didn’t scream, I didn’t show fear. The feeling of numbness weighed heavy on me and it has continued 6 months later. As I sat and watched looking out the window seeing how powerful Mother Nature can be, I watched as the place around me crumbled, the place that was like a second home. The once look of beauty gone in a blink of an eye. I prayed for the other people that stayed that called it home.
I will never forget the sound of the wind, the sound of the waves crashing into the building, the sound of debris hitting the windows, thinking when will it stop and then hours (that felt like years) the sound of silence. The eerie sound of only alarms going off in the distance. It was still.
The look of destruction. The thought of lose, the thought of survival so many things going through my mind. We made it, but how many lives did not.
Should I be helping with search and rescue? Should I leave behind people that need help. How do I unscramble my brain and know what’s the right thing to do.
Continue checking in on my kids when I need checking in. I put on the brave face, the smile that behind it is sadness, guilt, to brace what lies ahead. 6 months later and it’s still not easy.
I will never forget that day and night. Part of me will always be left on the 3rd floor.
Fort Myers beach will be back, it may not look the same but the people will make it home again.
(Please don’t reply with rude comments about not evacuating)
Can’t believe it’s been 6 months.
I can’t even begin to imagine. I’m sorry you (and others) had to go through what must have been a horrific experience. 🙏
Thank you for sharing.
Terry don’t bitch because someone has money. They will be the folks that bring normalcy back after this. Why is it that people are jealous of those that have more. Maybe those folks will be the ones who pave the way for a brighter future a more stable island. They are usually the ones donating money to charity and helping their communities. Yet you despise them. Jealousy is not what the island needs right now.
Very well said.
Could not have said it better. Glad you had the courage to do so.
It was horrific to watch the water rise, completely covering cars, floating boats off their lifts and taking them away, trees and other debris flying through the air and slamming into the building. And this was just the tiny part of the island I could view from my 3rd floor condo windows. The pain and tears really started as I rode a National Guard troop carrier all the way up the island and over the bridge for evacuation. Mile after mile of devastation I could never have imagined. Still today, the tears come every time I drive up the island. This island has been my home for 22 years and I love this community and the people so very much. My heart aches for the many who have suffered and still suffer. Our lives may never be the same but our lives will be GOOD as we rebuild our beloved community and step by step continue to heal. God bless us all.
Yeah I used to complain over having to make those coconuts grouper nuggets when I worked at Pete’s Time Out….I would do anything to see those again now…you never know when you are making memories. Cherish it all…
Unless you were here like I was you will never understand what we are going through on this Island our Paradise.
PTSD is never going to go away for me it’s difficult to deal with when you watched people your friends and neighbors struggling to survive in that storm surge while you watched them get swept away…helpless…16 ft above ground watching this shit unfold.
It was and is heart wrenching every single day.
Makes my heart hurt for you and what you went through. Praying or your healing.
Makes my heart hurt for you and what you went through. Praying for your healing.
Many of us will suffer PTSD the rest of our lives from this. We lost our homes with all of our personal belongings…. We fight insurance companies who do not think they owe us a dime or have gone bankrupt…. We fight the city for giving us citations ….. we can’t receive the RV’s or mobile homes we were promised because of some kind of bull crap, and they sit empty in a lot while people try to survive. Some of us even had an income from the rental units we had in our same building which now are gone and so is the income but the bank still expects their mortgage paid and taxes still need to be paid.
It is extremely hard to move forward and see the bright side with all of this when daily, it seems as though something new gets thrown at us to make our lives more difficult.
Some of us now have to sell our vacant land because we haven’t received any help from our banks or our government so now we are forced to sell what was our home and or business.
Thank you Beach Talk Radio for all of the information you have provided since Ian came ashore. We were snow birds for ten years and this has impacted us tremendously. Your updates were very appreciated. We realize how this devastation impacted full time residents even more. Our main home is along the Jersey Shore and we are still feeling the wrath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012. We will be making our fourth trip to FL to deal with more insurance issues. Our home needs to be torn down. We will tune in to your broadcast and once again thank you. To all the full timers in FMB continue to stay strong. Our hearts are with all of you. See you in April.
I echo the others in saying that grief and loss is in YOUR OWN TIME! There’s no getting on or over, it’s a gradual progression of gut-wrenching emotional anguish, countless tears and an endless array of mental sorting of thoughts and emotions coupled with hope and vision. So yeah whoever says “it’s time to move on” in ANY LOSS scenario needs to take several seats. Annnnnnnnywayyyz, my heart broke into in a zillion crazy pieces when all of this unfolded since 9/28/22 and I’m just a 40+ year vacationer!! I can only imagine the level of loss you all endure on a daily basis. ❤️ I have read hours worth of your triumphant stories that were horribly sad from losing your friends and family, your homes, businesses and animals, I just cannot fathom the devastation and as I wrote this, the tears keep coming. Not to mention how you all are facing corruption and greed as you try to honestly rebuild. And I also find so much hope to see how the community is standing arm-in-arm, rebuilding in love. You all are THE heroes!! So thank you from the bottom of my heart. ❤️ FMB holds a really sincere space in my spirit and soul because it’s there that I go every year to ground myself as I sink my feet on that white sand… and when my feet hit the gulf, something so magical and spiritual happens right away! I have received revelations upon revelations from my God on that beach over the decades. It’s at the shore where I get to reconnect with my Dad who passed away 7 years ago. I hear his voice all over FMB – from the moment I get to Jungle Golf, I think of when his best friend, Bill Flanjack, lost his life in 1983 when we were there; as I move towards the bridge, I think of our beloved Gazda
(Mike Romcevich), who owned Smugglers Tavern for years and how he taught us to devein the fresh shrimp and how to make fried oysters and cut shark & grouper so we could eat a feast as he played the jukebox and gave me painted quarters to play the video games… and as I cross the bridge, I remember the anticipation of going to the arcade and putting my quarter on the machines; memories shift to the more recent times
when I started drooling over the site of Kilwins sign anticipating my toasted coconut ice cream on a fresh waffle cone and craving coconut grouper nuggets from Pete’s! ❤️ Every part of FMB is magical to me and I can’t wait to get back to reconnect to you all—even though I don’t know any of you, I’ve experienced the hospitality of soooo many of you. We are family of some crazy sort and are weaved together with love. ✌🏽❤️☀️🌈🌴 THANK YOU for being the “FMB Strong”!!!!!
Six months later it’s still difficult to watch videos and view photos of the destruction. Some people are able to move on more easily, some are not. Ian tore our hearts out and dramatically changed our lives forever. We haven’t been the same since September 28th and still have difficulty seeing what’s happened to the Island, our neighborhood, our property and our home. We have all awakened from horrible nightmares, happy to learn that it was all a horrible dream. Unfortunately we aren’t waking up from the Ian nightmare.
I understand you so much I feel so lost God bless you mary j wojciechowski
I think of you both, constantly. I can’t imaging going through what all you have been through with such an enormous loss.
Ed I think your opening sentence is Tuesday MARCH 28th is the six month anniversary…
I can’t. It is just a reminder of everything and everyone I have lost. People say “it’s time to move on.” Things like this are just a horrible reminder and cause my PTSD to resurface all over again
It’s very difficult to get over something like this. It breaks my heart every time I see the photos. I loved this area so much and I vacationed there for so many years. It’s hard to accept that it has changed so drastically. It evokes emotions on a continuous basis still. So I totally understand how you feel. It’s a mourning process and it will take a while to be able to deal with it on another level. I wish peace to everyone enduring
You will when YOU are ready. Don’t pay attention to others’ comments. You are moving on, you are living through it. It will take time. It was a horrible tragic thing to happen. Ian will leave a hole in many lives. My heart bleeds for all of you. I think of FMB daily. I live 1,000 miles away and it impacted me because it was my vacation home for 40 years, and the happiest and most beautiful place I have ever been. So I cannot image what you are going through. Take care of yourself.
The PTSD is overwhelming, my paradise is gone…….in one day, damn. I worked my life to find this island and its gone to the millionaires!
You’re not alone in these feelings, Terry.
Are you a renter? That sounds like a comment a renter would make. It is those millionaires that will invest the money they have worked for, back into the island to bring it back. Where else do you think the money will come from?