The Fort Myers Beach we all know and love will never be the same after Hurricane Ian. People on the island say the last three months have been a struggle, but things are getting cleaned up, and people are coming back.
There’s a lot of hope on Fort Myers Beach. People there know they lost neighbors, and they see the destruction, but they’re also happy to be able to walk, even sit on the beach again and take in the scenery.
Some even continued their tradition of taking pictures with the famous poinsettia Christmas tree, but no amount of time will erase the pain or the damage done by the hurricane
“Fort Myers Beach, you could still see the debris in the woods and the tree lines. And it really saddens me, you know, we’ve become normalized to the debris,” said Margaret Mills, who lives near Fort Myers Beach.
Three months after Ian, there are signs of rebirth and perhaps a glimpse of what the community will be in the future.
People are on the beach, some even in the water, despite the dangers that may still hide underneath.
“Gotta be careful on the beach, though. Everybody threatens that with all the sharp stuff on there’s a lot of stuff still coming in. Like the garbage up every once in a while help out. It’s it’s common. It’s gonna take time,” said Daryl Schmidt, who has a home on Fort Myers Beach.
Jayme King is a pharmacist who is raising her daughter on the barrier island. She is pleased to say aside from the beach itself; the town is starting to come around.
“You just see the debris kind of just piling up on like different areas of land. And then I would say, like, now it’s definitely kind of starting to come down. And the landscaping has gotten much better to where like I would say out of towners may or may not even know that you know, two to three months ago, it was just complete destruction,” said King.
“It brings tears to your eyes, and you know that you’re not here alone and that you’re not going through it alone. And all you have to say is help, and you’ve got three or four neighbors come run over and help you lift that wall up off the ground and drag it to the street. And that’s what a community is, and that’s why we’d love to live in this area,” said Mills.
Everyone WINK News spoke with said they still live on Fort Myers Beach or come back regularly to check in on what’s happening because this is either their home or their home away from home.