ENGLEWOOD, Fla. — A childhood friend is fundraising to help a Florida newspaper editor and former Rochelle resident recover from the devastating damage of Hurricane Ian.
“I’ve known Marcy Russell Shortuse most of my life,” Amy Chura Mosher said. “We grew up together in Rochelle, both eventually relocating to Florida. We need to support Marcy’s family as they repair/rebuild their home in Englewood, Florida. These funds will be used for repair and rebuild and replacing items lost in the storm as well as anything they might need in the meantime like groceries, bills, temporary housing, etc.”
Marcy, her husband, Jason, and their four kids who live at home – Keagan, Rory, Eirinn and Piper – experienced severe damage to their home and lost most of their belongings in Hurricane Ian (Sept. 28).
Their neighborhood on the outskirts of Englewood experienced not only hurricane force winds of between 150-190 miles per hour for almost 12 hours, but many tornadoes as well.
They are currently living in a borrowed RV and a travel trailer on their property, awaiting word from their insurance company as to how to proceed.
It has been five weeks since the storm. It is estimated that once repairs begin, it will be 8-12 months. In the interim they must make mortgage and utility payments, it is feasible they may have to tear down and start over.
On Marcy’s immediate to-do list is to find a small apartment or house to rent. So many homes were damaged, rentals don’t stay on the market. Marcy also needs to replace household necessities, clothes, etc.
Complicating matters is this: the insurance company declared it was insolvent the day before the storm. Neither it not responding and FEMA has denied their claims. Marcy said she knows many who are in the same boat.
Here is how Marcy explained what happened: “The day before the storm I was at work in Boca Grande, on Gasparilla Island, when I saw University of Florida Storm Researcher trucks lined up in front of our library (carrying) multiple towers on trailers. The guy I spoke with said they were there to place the towers, then leave. He said by noon the next day no one should be anywhere near there, as ‘hurricane force’ winds were going to occur.”
“When (the Weather Channel’s) Jim Cantore showed up in a hotel in Punta Gorda in the late morning hours, we knew there was going to be trouble. Meteorologists were still talking about the storm hitting Tampa.”
“The next day the weather started at about 11:30 a.m., experiencing Category one or two winds. Forecasters were calling for the eye to pass over Cayo Costa, which is a half mile from Gasparilla Island, and right down the road from our house. By 3 p.m. the wind was a sustained category three range and the little arched window above the big window over our front door started raining down, little bits at a time, even with metal shutters covering it.”
“We could see our neighbors’ roof shingles flying off. My youngest first thought they were black birds in the sky. Still, the kids played cards and joked about having (window) glass in their hair. By 5:30 p.m. the wind made it impossible to even try to crack the door and look outside. I would say it was a mid-range category four (136-150 miles per hour) by that time. The wind was just screaming. The trap door to the crawl space was starting to bang.”
“Maybe an hour after that my ears started popping so badly, it hurt. My girls were holding their ears, so I knew they felt it, too. No more than 15 minutes later, the first window on the second floor (north-facing) blew out. Almost immediately after that the ceiling over that room caved in.”
“We have a loft house, so everything on the second floor is open to the first floor. The ceiling started coming down everywhere. The first round of it fell on one of my daughters, but it was so waterlogged, the drywall easily broke over her head and shoulder (still not a sight I will forget for a very long time). A short time later the winds increased.”
“In the front entryway (first floor) and in the great room (second floor) there was a huge collapse of the ceiling. Everything was covered in blown-in cellulose insulation and drywall. It was almost up to my knees in the foyer. I had to keep walking back and forth through it to take our supplies from the study to the back of the house, where we still had a ceiling. It was pouring rain inside and the wind noise was so loud, we couldn’t hear each other speak from a foot away. The words were taken away by the wind.”
“A couple of times during the worst of it I had to go upstairs to retrieve things. Pushing the thought out of my head that plywood was the only thing between myself and the hurricane was not easy. The second time I went up, the other north-facing windows upstairs blew in. It was uncool.
“It went on for hours. We never got the eye. We were consistently in the eyewall as it rolled around us and sat on top of us. We sat there in the dark, waiting for the entire roof to just sail away. It didn’t. I think it was about 11:30 p.m. or so that we thought we noticed a decrease in the wind. By 12:30 a.m. it was noticeable. I think it was around 2 a.m. when I laid down in a wet bed, in wet clothes. Just before falling asleep I recognized it was soundless outside.”
Marcy added, “I will continue to love storms, as I always have, but I will never forget the look on my kids’ faces or hearing their screams during the worst of it.”
You can help Marcy & family online at https://bit.ly/22HelpMarcyShortuse