Many families returned to Fort Myers Beach after the island was reopened and found vacant addresses where their homes used to be, wiped away by Hurricane Ian.
“I can’t wait for 711 to open back up, so we don’t have to go off the island to get ice,” said Kim Davidson.
Fort Myers Beach felt like Kim and Dapper Davidson’s own slice of paradise, with the sun shining bright, country tunes blasting, a full cooler and a crystal-clear pool.
Something important is now missing from that slice of paradise: Kim and Dapper’s house.
“When the storm was hitting, we evacuated about 4 o’clock the day before and watched the water the next morning rise up in our cameras that were on the house,” Kim said.
The cameras eventually no longer worked. And their home of nine years… Just floated away.
“We saw the water rise and rise,” Kim said. “And, of course, it took everything away.”
When Fort Myers Beach allowed people to come back to the island, the Davidsons returned right away and went to work. They dug up their pool and fixed the water pipes.
“[Dapper] likes doing these kinds of things,” Kim said. “He wanted to make it so it’s livable for us, and comfortable. So, this is what he did. And it came out good.”
The Davidsons live out of a trailer on their property along Estero Boulevard. Their home is just one of the more than 1,000 deemed substantially damaged by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“The plan is to build again; we’re waiting for the builder to,” Kim said. “He got some designs and engineers and all that stuff. But, still waiting. There’s going to be a long process.”
With so many others in a similar position, or even worse, there have been delays. Still, Kim is willing to wait as long as it takes.
“We just know that we’re going to be able to do it,” Kim said. “We have very strong wills to do it… to get things done.”