Pastor saves woman from Naples home during Ian

Reporter: Zach Oliveri

Walking into Rebecca Voss’ Naples home you can see there’s not much left.

Just a mattress on the floor.

She lost prized possessions, including playbills from her favorite musicals, gone. They were all lost during Hurricane Ian.

Walls cut out after Ian rushed her home from all sides. She lives near Wiggins Pass Road.

“I came to the front and looked outside and my car was already submerged. So I wasn’t really worried about the front. The front actually filled up faster than the back. Once it got into the house it was within a few minutes the water was just rising up,” Voss said.

She had to find safety.

“At the time I wasn’t thinking and we just got to do what we got to do,” Voss said. “I had to bust through the door and I have my two cats. And a couple cans of can food and not much else, just my cellphone.”

Voss stayed on her phone with her aunt. She stood on the counter of her home because help was on the way in the form of a family friend and Tree of Life Church Pastor Andrew DeLong.

“She’s worth saving! I mean, everybody is worth saving so you take risks. I didn’t even think about it,” DeLong said.

The water was as high as 4 feet.

He couldn’t get through with his truck so a neighbor gave him his kayak.

“I didn’t know how inadequate it was going to be to get her out to walk her out because I’m 6’6′ and she’s a lot shorter than I am,” DeLong said.

Voss heard DeLong yelling and it was a relief.

“The two of them, with the cats, got in the kayak and made it to US-41.

We’re here for one another. And the most important thing is not the possessions that we have but the people and the relationships that we have,” DeLong said. 

Voss said it’s been tough, “but at least we’re alive.”

Pastor DeLong was set to get married on Oct. 1, shortly after the storm. After a brief cancelation, the wedding went on.

The power came back right before the wedding, giving a joyous moment during a difficult time.

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