Signs of Hurricane Irma linger in the Keys


BIG PINE KEY, Fla. No matter where you go in they Keys, there are signs of Hurricane Irma.

Mark Ebenhoch, who has lived in Big Pine Key for five years, considers himself one of the lucky ones for having a home to return to.

“It’s the ying and the yang and it’s the sadness of what others have lost and you kind of feel guilty because you’re OK, you have a home, where others don’t,” Ebenhoch said.

MORE: Irma donations went to Keys, but truckloads were turned away

Most residents are still working to put their lives back together after Irma left its imprint more than 33 days ago.

MORE: Missing iconic Key West sign found on Fort Myers Beach

A nonprofit Louisiana-based organization called Cajun Relief Foundation has been at the Keys since landfall and the crew plans to stay until they’re no longer needed.

“There’s still folks here sleeping in tents, sleeping in shelters, kids have to go to school without their shoes,” organization member Bill Homberg said.

It could take about six months to clear all the debris in the Keys, but that’s not stopping business owners from welcoming tourists.

MORE: Keys still reeling from Irma as conditions slowly improve

The Keys need tourists and tourism dollars to support their economy.

“It’s a country unto itself. It’s the Conch Republic and that’s what we’re doing here, it all comes back to people taking care of their own,” Key West resident Lauri Thibaud said.

Click here on more information on how to help the Keys.

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