Experiencing Hurricane Ian’s Path of Destruction in Florida

By: Glenda Lofton, Ph.D.

Nov 8, 2022

As citizens of Louisiana, our family has experienced the devastation of many hurricanes. In one, our camp at Grand Isle was totally destroyed, in one a huge oak tree crashed through our bedroom roof, broke the canopy off our antique bed, the rain crinkled our wooden floor, and our electricity was off for a week. And in 2016, our office in Lafayette had four feet of water, and many of our friends and employees there lost everything including their homes and cars. Areas flooded that had never flooded before, many were separated from family, friends, and pets, and 13 people died. The horrors that Houston, Houma, Lake Charles, and Beaumont experienced are still fresh in our minds along with so many sufferings of others.


On Friday, September 30, the front page of the Baton Rouge Advocate showed Hurricane Ian’s path of destruction across Fort Myers, Florida where my brother, David Gaar, M.D., now retired, moved when he finished medical school at LSU. Sadly, my brother and his four grown children living in or near Fort Myers, Florida experienced the high end of Hurricane Ian with winds of 155 mph, the deadliest hurricane to hit the United States since 1935, with over 131 fatalities. An early estimate of damage was 67.2 billion dollars. Because David’s beautiful and spacious two-story home and his subdivision had never flooded, two of his grown children, Laini, a medical doctor and Noah, a high school teacher, left their own homes to “ride out the storm with them”. Thankfully their homes did not flood, but sadly the first floor of David’s two-story home did along with its beautiful surroundings which included a swimming pool and tennis court, and a generator outside making it stop running.


Flood waters quickly rose to six feet downstairs, covering a house full of beautiful antique furniture, and destroying all the vehicles outside. As the family took refuge upstairs, David’s cell phone was still working. I was able to talk with him, and he was able to call one of his other sons, Micah, whose house did not flood, and he came by boat to pick them up and take them to his house until the waters went down.


Now they are back home trying to clean up what they can, decide what can be saved, and what to do next. Thankfully a group of Laini’s friends, whose houses did not flood, came to help clean up along with the Samaritan’s Purse and of course the Cajun Navy. What they can salvage among the beautiful antiques will have to be stored until the house is repaired, and many of them will also need costly restoration. I could hear the frustration in David’s voice, when he said, “Charlotte (David’s wife) seems determined to salvage and restore everything! But, what if this happens again? Should we just tear the house down and rebuild smaller and higher?” And as many of you know that questioning, “Can I do this again?!” (Ask Lake Charles!)


Life is filled with the unexpected. As you reflect on recent hurricanes or other “storms” in your life, what difficulties did you experience? How did you deal with them? What lessons did you learn? What good things did you experience? Who did you help or encourage? How might you use this experience to understand God’s purpose for your life and grow closer to him? In the good times and in the bad times, we all grow stronger together.


About Lofton: Founded in 1979, Lofton Services offers clients the best of all worlds. We provide the responsive, personal service and flexibility of a small local firm while having the technology, resources, and infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the biggest players in our industry. Lofton Staffing can deliver the right people, with the right skills, right when you need them. Contact us today


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