Neighbors remember Navy veteran killed during Hurricane Ian

Reporter: Chris Cifatte Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

As our community moves forward from Hurricane Ian, we also look back to remember all those it took. Every life represents a story.

One man in particular passed after staying in his house for the storm. He was a veteran, and neighbors say he did a lot in his lifetime.

“He was a Navy vet. He just kind of wanted to stay with his house. That’s how he went,” said neighbor Chance Butner.

“I think that night before, people didn’t really realize what’s going to happen. And you can’t visualize, you know, 10 feet of water. So I think that’s so now what’s happened here, I think people will be more prepared, I hope, and do what they need to do to get out of here or do whatever they need to do to secure their homes.”

For the veteran’s neighbor Steven, that hits really close to home. “You know, it is difficult to take. So, I don’t know, it’s a tough place to stay at.”

Steven lived right across the street from the veteran, who was in his 80s.

Map showing where people died from Hurricane Ian.

The map above shows where crews found his body on Anchorage Street in Fort Myers Beach, and the green pin tells us how he died. It means he was found under debris or inside a collapsed structure.

Chance Butner lived right below that storm victim. “He did a lot in his lifetime. He was in the military. He wrote a book. He was a professor for a college. He was a great guy. So once you get to know him, and you gotta cross on his barriers, he was a really great guy. So he loved everybody that was around.”

Butner says the military hero was at peace with death and even left a signed will on the kitchen counter before Ian came ashore.

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