Volunteers helping those impacted by last week’s EF2 tornado in Iona

Reporter: Jennifer Morejon Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News

Sunday marked one week since tornadoes swept through Southwest Florida. Iona was one of the hardest-hit areas, seeing an EF2 tornado.

But this week, volunteers have been helping those affected. WINK News spoke to some of those volunteers about what drove them to assist in the clean-up effort.

Driving down Water Lane in Iona, you’ll see piles of debris waiting to be picked up.

Sammie Smith and his wife Valtonia Loucas have been volunteering and helping clean up some of the devastated neighborhoods.

“We been out here for a whole week,” Loucas said. “Non-stop every day.”

They know us, they see us .. like ‘hey,” said Loucas. 

The couple came from Lehigh Acres to lend a helping hand. Smith says they’ve been bouncing around different neighborhoods to help residents sort through and identify trash.

According to Smith, clean-up crews leave behind the piles with aluminum or other debris in them. “Certain machines, they only have blades that chop up wood. Certain machines only chop out metal, so when you separate it — it’s easier,” Smith said. 

The couple also says they’ve met some fantastic people along the way and gotten to hear their stories. “The stories.. that make you appreciate the things that you have, you know,” Loucas said. 

These two say they’re happy to help because this is the second disaster they’ve done so. “That was hard then, so I was kind of prepared for what I was seeing out here but ‘ hey where ever needs help, we’re going to be there and do our best for people,” said Loucas. 

While some worked to pick things up, others attempted to salvage what was left.

If your trash has not been picked up yet, Lee County’s website has lists to prepare for curbside removal.

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