Man affected by Ian building back home thanks to community

Reporter: Elizabeth Biro
Published: Updated:

The story of a man who was down and out did a complete 180 thanks to help from the community.

At 84 years old, Joe Salvaggio was rebuilding his Fort Myers Beach home by himself.

His wife passed a year before Hurricane Ian, and he felt hopeless.

“I want to die. I told you before I am without hope. Now I’m old. I’m 84 years old, and I have nothing to look forward to,” said Salvaggio.

Only WINK News showed how Salvaggio was caught in a series of broken promises and the $40,000 he sent to a builder who wasn’t building.

Viewers saw his story and began showing up at his house. Even Fort Myers Beach icon Rick on the Roof came to do his part. His community came together to help, giving Salvaggio a glimpse of hope.

“Your interview with me had a very, very positive impact on my life,” said Salvaggio.

The saga of rebuilding for Salvaggio is coming to an end.

Salvaggio sat on his pool deck and smiled. The view’s a lot better these days, and so is just about everything else.

“All I see now is good. I only see the good no matter what,” said Salvaggio.

For the first time in 85 years, he’s living in a new house that features some of the old.

“And these are some of my favorite statues: David, Percies Delieta,” said Salvaggio.

If he listed everyone who helped, that list would be incredibly long.

“My home was literally started when Michael Hudak came here. And that was in the middle of August. And I’m here yeah, that’s that’s a miracle in itself,” said Salvaggio.

But Salvaggio knows his late wife Arlene sent him to where he is because he needed a hand.

“How depressed I was and felt there was no hope,” said Salvaggio.

But that’s all in the past.

“Just look forward and keep pushing, no matter how hard it is. Force yourself to look at the positive. And the good in every peep over people. And more importantly, yourself and go forward,” said Salvaggio.

Because even when life is hard, Salvaggio knows it’s still good.

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