Weeks ago I had this letter finished but had to rewrite it after Irma passed through. I can’t tell you how many people have said to me, “We really dodged a bullet,” and, yes, we did. This was my first hurricane experience, and it’s such a mix of emotions. I’ve never had a time in my life where everything literally stops. Everything is put on the back burner except the safety of your family and friends. “Will I have a home in two days? Where will I find gas and water?” Part of me is so thankful that our prayers were answered and we had very minimal damage to our town. On the other hand, I feel almost guilty about our good fortune, seeing other parts of Florida suffer such devastation. However, this has all reminded me that there are still good people in the world, people who want to help each other, especially in Cape Coral.
I was truly blown away by how our neighbors came together and helped one another. There are so many examples of kindness—people putting up storm shutters for the elderly, loaning each other tools and plywood and, post-storm, collecting items to help victims here locally and in the Keys. And what about our brave police, firefighters and medical personnel who put their lives in danger to stay and help others? This need to nurture and take care of one another spread far beyond Florida. People everywhere were watching The Weather Channel and praying for us. I ended up driving all the way to Ohio and can’t tell you how many conversations I had with total strangers along the way. A lady in a restaurant in Ohio felt the need to hug me! On my drive back, I saw countless numbers of utility trucks with plates from all over the country, coming down to restore power. This ugly storm brought out a beautiful side of people.
What if this desire to take care of each other, this sense of compassion and kindness could last all year? For many people in our town, this is what they do. They dedicate their time, energy and resources to helping those in need, all the time. In this season of Thanksgiving, we want to make sure to recognize organizations like the Cape Coral Community Foundation, Cape Coral Caring Center, Samaritan Health & Wellness and Homes for Heroes. These are just a few of the many groups that make such a difference in the lives of others.
We have much to be thankful for this year. Let’s keep the love going Cape Coral!