Collier County seniors get new lease on life after Hurricane Ian

Reporter: Claire Galt Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Thanks to the nonprofit Baker Senior Center in Naples, five seniors are getting a new lease on life after Hurricane Ian wiped theirs away.

83-year-old Marie Powell has spent her life holding her family together and letting her grandkids play office in her home.

“I have to tell you, the best grandkids anybody could ask for. They are so sweet,” Powell said.

And, of course, organizing events that get the family together.

“She’s one person that everyone kind of counseling for support,” Powell’s daughter, Sherry Spinella, said.

But when Hurricane Ian destroyed Powell’s home, everything changed.

“I’m not going to be able to come back to this house again. That was the hard part,” Spinella said.

The storm took away Powell’s safe place.

“My husband and I, he built this one. And he built that room on and he made it as homey as he could for me. It’s gone,” Powell said.

So Powell needed to support herself and moved in with her daughter’s family.

“I’ve been there five months. And I haven’t gotten thrown out yet,” Powell said.

But, with a family this closely bonded together, living together has gone smoothly.

“The less you say? It really works. I say good morning. Quick. Good morning. She says a quick Good morning. It’s good,” Powell said while laughing. “She’s very… Like if I crinkle a bottle… no stop, mom.”

Spinella’s ready to get her mom back into her own place. But, it’s no secret getting help from FEMA can sometimes be difficult.

That’s where Dr. Jaclynn Faffer with the Baker Senior Center comes in.

“When disaster strikes we spring into action,” Faffer said.

The center partnered with the Collier Community Foundation giving five seniors, including Powell, a new home.

“The home I’m getting will be furnished. I already picked out my siding color,” Powell said. “It’s not a light gray it’s not a dark gray it’s a flint.”

The new homes are going to be built in Moorhead Manor, where the five seniors lived before the hurricane.

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