2017-10-01 / Community

After Irma, we also saw the best of human nature


Hurricanes Irma moves toward Florida on the evening of September 9, 2017. 
NOAA Hurricanes Irma moves toward Florida on the evening of September 9, 2017. NOAA As you read this, I hope and pray that your life is back to a “good-normal” after the lingering effects of Hurricane Irma. Just as calamity can bring out the selfishness in some people, it can also shine a spotlight on the best of human nature.

There are a million different Southwest Florida hurricane stories: flooding, no power for weeks, no gas for the car, or diminishing supplies of food and water. The golf course where I work experienced record flooding and more than a thousand downed trees.

We are still so lucky to live in the Naples area as we have the highest per capita number of landscaping businesses, and they were busy the day after the storm already cleaning up streets, driveway and yards. The men and women in these businesses really work hard.

The businesses that had problems during the storm are many. I’m sorry for the restaurants that lost all their food in power outages and then couldn’t get fresh food fast enough. A myriad small business owners had staffing, payroll and income problems because they had no power, no staff or damaged buildings. I especially sympathize with all the hourly employees who had to go a week or two with safety worries and no income.

This is a letter of thanks to everyone who helped a neighbor or a friend in a time of need. Anyone with a generator who let someone stay in his or her house. Anyone who helped a neighbor clear trees out of a driveway or yard. To all of you who donated time to work at a shelter or recovery center. To anyone who kept a business open not for greed but to be there for people who needed it, and of course, the first responders and police who all worked straight through the storm.

I’m so thankful that the storm surge of 10 feet or more of gulf water didn’t materialize, that most people can handle four-way stops when the traffic signals are out, and I’m proud of every country club golf professional who grabbed a chainsaw or rake and got busy helping the entire area clean up the mess made by a record breaking storm.

To all of you who just got back down to this beautiful area, there are still some broken branches and trees, but you should have seen it the day after Irma.

Mike Dero is director of golf, Quail Creek Country Club. He can be reached at miked@swspotlight.com

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