Punta Gorda family who lost everything in the hurricane helped by a stranger

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Punta Gorda home without a roof after Hurricane Ian. (Credit: WINK News)

A Punta Gorda couple is thankful to be alive after the roof of their home blew away while they rode out Hurricane Ian.

“How in the world? How did we make it?” asked Suzanne MaGill, who watched from inside her home as the storm tore her shelter away.

MaGill can’t answer that question. She walked through her Punta Gorda home with her husband, Norman, showing WINK News the devastation inside.

Outside, memories and furniture are now on the side of the road.

“That’s why I’m not crying. I can’t comprehend what’s going on,” said MaGill.

The couple had to act fast when Hurricane Ian was at their doorstep.

“We had some rope, and we were standing right here trying to it when something busted through the window, and saw the carport flying over. And my daughter-in-law on the phone, and she says, ‘grab a mattress,'” MaGill said.

That is exactly what they did. The couple huddled under a mattress, praying for five hours that they would make it through the storm.

“God, please get us through this. That’s all we can say because we didn’t know if we were going to live or die. At one point, my husband Norman said I’m just going to shut my eyes, and if I die, that’s it,” said MaGill.

The two survived, but their house did not.

Until recently, they had nowhere to go and needed help. That all changed when Larry Armstrong went looking for his recycling bin.

“She was standing there in the yard. I asked her if she was okay she said yeah. She was in shock,” said Armstrong.

He welcomed the two into his home to stay with him and his daughter Loretta.

“You’re here to love one another. And you need to show that love. If that means giving somebody shelter, then that’s what it takes,” said Loretta Armstrong.

People who were at one time total strangers, the MaGills and Armstrongs are now a family.

“He did more for me than, honestly, my dad has ever done. And so he’s dad now,” said MaGill.

Susan and Norman MaGill are now living with their son in North Port.

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