Hurricane Irma victim stays positive one year after the storm

Photo: WINK News

Hurricane Irma slammed into the coast of Southwest Florida one year ago, and many victims are still trying to turn tragedy into hope.

Todd Lewis, the volunteer coordinator at Harry Chapin Food Bank, found himself on the other side, needing help himself in the wake of the storm.

September 10, 2017 left a mark on Southwest Florida, and it left Lewis’ Bonita Springs neighborhood underwater.

“I didn’t really know what to think. I just couldn’t believe it at first, you know?” he said.

He couldn’t believe how much water there was, and when Lewis and his wife got back from evacuating north, they needed a canoe just to reach their front door.

“There was 14 inches of wall stain, but this was a week after and we still had 6-7 inches of water in the house,” he said.

The devastating damage forced Lewis and his wife out of their home and into a North Naples RV park.

But the day after finding his home flooded, Lewis was back to work, putting in long hours at the Harry Chapin Food Bank for others in need.

“We made it happen and we’re believe it or not, we’re better off than we ever were,” he said.

Lewis found something good in so much destruction.

“I realized we didn’t need all that stuff.. we just didn’t.”

80 percent of their belongings were destroyed by Hurricane Irma. Lewis and his wife moved into a new place in December, and he’s living closer to work than ever before.

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