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Englewood mobile home park destroyed after Ian

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Mobile Gardens in Englewood was hit hard by Hurricane Ian. Most of the 240 mobile homes there are totaled or have significant damage.

It’s enough for some to think they can never rebuild and that it’s perhaps time to move on. But the community is now rallying around one another, keeping everyone fed, clean and full of hope.

One neighbor, Brad Robson, decided to stay during the hurricane. He and his wife hunkered down in a room inside their home, but it all went wrong when a piece of a business fell on top of them.

“It was something I’ll never do again,” Robson said.

Robson said he has previous hurricane experience, but nothing compares to Ian.

“This was a … I won’t put my wife through anything like this again,” said Robson, his voice full of emotion. “We’re good. We made it.”

After his mobile home was hit, Robson and his wife fled to his pickup truck, where they stayed for six hours.

Robson said he plans to rebuild.

“We love this place,” Robson said. “This is all we ever wanted.”

Despite the hard hit, Beverly Morford, the park’s social director, is working hard to bring comfort to those left behind.

“A lot of people lost their homes and their dreams more so than anything else,” Morford said. “Because, you know, as you get to be a senior citizen, you can’t wait to retire. And a lot of people have saved their monies and put them together and said this is their second home and they’re going to, you know, live here in happiness and put their feet up and sit on the beach. Now, a lot of this is gone.”

Morford is hosting lunch and dinner every day for people who lost everything. The lunch and dinner have been made possible through donations from all over. Many who evacuated returned to find their homes gone. They can only turn to the community center.

Bill Tomlinson said he lost his roof.

“I ended up with water damage inside,” Tomlinson said. “I’ve got a significant issue with mold.”

Tomlinson said he still has standing water and his ceiling is starting to droop. He only goes indoors to use the bathroom.