Wisconsinites pick up the pieces following hurricane Ian
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Thousands of people in Florida are still without power following Hurricane Ian while continuing cleanup efforts, including two people with ties to Wisconsin.
“It’s like any disaster situation or movie you’ve ever watched,” said former NBC15 anchor Christine Bellport.
She evacuated on the 27th, returning to what was left of her home in Fort Myers Monday. She describes a scene out of a movie, with boats thrown onto shore, houses toppled over, and businesses destroyed.
“There was a restaurant I used to dine at on the other side of the road,” said Bellport. “You get down there, and you see people just lost.”
Steve Kraus, a Waunakee native, has a vacation home in Cape Coral near Fort Myers, the area where Hurricane Ian made landfall. He says things like gas, groceries, and water are all hard to come by, and power is still out.
“We’ve been coming down here four or five years, and to see favorite sites destroyed, there was a street not too far away from where we came down, where a 40-foot boat, without a trailer, was in the middle of the street crossways.,” said Kraus.
But what is lifting the spirits of both Bellport and Kraus is the people around them. They say neighbors and friends are all working together, helping each other clean up the debris, working on getting back on their feet as a community.
“They’re out helping other people here; they’re out cutting trees and taking the garbage out,” said Kraus.
“It’s incredible, the support, you just feel loved, you feel supported,” said Bellport.
Kraus adds that 12 inches of water in his home created significant water damage, but he is working to mend what is broken. Bellport, on the other hand, has lost everything. Despite picking through the pieces of her life Monday and Tuesday, she remains optimistic and cheerful.
“I was walking out of my house for the last time, and a picture of my childhood pastor, I don’t know how this picture survived, one of my cleanup crew ran up and said, ‘Christine, you dropped this,’ I didn’t drop this, and I just realized that I’m going to be ok,” said Bellport.
She says she is working through a to-do list and moving on from that area of Fort Myers. She is fundraising through a gofundme to cover the loss of some of the things she lost in the hurricane.
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