Social media helps Punta Gorda woman with Hurricane Ian repairs

Writer: Nicholas Karsen
Published: Updated:

A social media post about an 87-year-old Punta Gorda woman in need blew up online.

Patricia Rowland’s home was damaged during Hurricane Ian and in dire need of repairs. With a little help from neighbors and the kindness of strangers, she received it.

Michael Decker, owner of Southwest Florida Rescreen, has seen a lot of devastation after Hurricane Ian and got a lot of work out of it. When Decker heard about Patricia’s story, he knew this wasn’t just any project.

“She started talking to me about her hardship going on, with her son dying and her other sons’ uncertain future. I wanted to do something for her. I told her I was going to try to get this done for free,” Decker said.

Decker went to the Nextdoor app, and several members of the community alongside other outdoor work companies volunteered to make sure Rowland received the help she deserved.

“Oh, my God, everything all fell into place,” Rowland said. “We talked. I told him how I lost my son– beautifully on Easter. This is worst day of my life, but it is a double-edged sword. It was horrible to lose my son, and it was beautiful knowing that he was able to walk or talk for the last five years after being in a wheelchair for 35 years. He was in total care.”

Rowland’s two sons, Ty and Michael have Friedreich Ataxia. Ty passed away at 62 and Michael is still under her care.

Michael’s life expectancy was 20 years, but Patricia didn’t accept that. She brought her sons to Germany for treatment. The treatment had improved and lengthened both their lives.

“We figured we’d come out and help them with whatever she needs done: screening, gutters, whatever she needs we are all here to get it all done,” volunteer John Joray said.

Rowland appreciates the overwhelming support she has received from her community.

“There are no words to describe these wonderful people,” Rowland said.

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