90-year-old woman and her dog rescued by neighbors in North Fort Myers during Ian

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Blakeslee standing in front of a damaged wall in her North Fort Myers home. (Credit: WINK News)

A 90-year-old woman with no family except her dog survived Hurricane Ian with the help of neighbors she considers family.

Evelyn Blakeslee was in her North Fort Myers home when water began seeping in. Her neighbors let her take refuge in their two-story home.

Blakeslee says she is so thankful to be alive. With no family, she stayed in her North Fort Myers home because she felt she had nowhere else to go. If her neighbors didn’t continue to check in on her, or if they showed up any later, she doesn’t know if she and her dog would have made it through alive.

It’s no secret that Blakeslee is spry. “I mow my own yard.”

Blakeslee’s dog Dottie. (Credit: WINK News)

She takes care of her dog, a Maltese named Dottie. “He’s all that I have,” said Blakeslee. “I have no family.”

Blakeslee stayed home during Ian and said her neighbors across the street checked in on her frequently.

“These are the people right here that have stood by me,” said Blakeslee.

Water on Glenmont Drive West in North Fort Myers during Hurricane Ian.

When the water on Glenmont Drive West started to rise, Jenny Borst and her husband rushed over to get Blakeslee and Dottie out.

“We couldn’t have done it without the help of everyone on this block,” said Borst.

The Borsts took Blakeslee and Dottie to the two-story home next door where Mark Weekly lives with his wife.

“We just kind of sat here and rode it out. Listen to the wind blow and watch the water come up,” said Weekly.

The next day, Blakeslee and her dog returned to their home. Four feet of storm surge took out her flooring and drywall. Now, her furniture is out on the curb.

Blakeslee walks past the furniture that now sits on the curb in front of her home. (Credit: WINK News)

“You can’t think about what you’ve lost. You just think about the future and make go of everything and make go of everything the best you can,” said Blakeslee.

The Borsts and Weeklys who saved and sheltered Dottie and Blakeslee are no longer neighbors; they’re family.

“They saved myself and my dog’s life,” Blakeslee said.

“We might not have the best houses in this neighborhood, but we have the best people,” said Borst.

Luckily, Blakeslee’s home is still standing. She said next time officials ask her to evacuate, she will be taking that advice.

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