Close Call


Feeling lucky this week?

Most of us are, as we see the devastation that Hurricane Dorian brought to the northern Bahamas. How can you not view that kind of devastation, see the before and after photos and listen to the accounts of those who stayed on those islands and endured a Category 5 hurricane stalled directly over them for an inconceivably long time, and not feel indescribably lucky. Especially as we were once in that Dorian cone ourselves.

As Dorian makes its way north along the coast as a Cat 3, it will do more damage before it spins out to sea for good, but the Dorian photos that will remain in our memories will be the aerial photos of the Abacos and Grand Bahama Islands that look like the aftermath of a thousand tornadoes, with just sticks and debris scattered over the ground as far as the eye can see. Or maybe the video of the family huddled in their attic as water filled their home below them, or the storm surge a foot deep on the second floor of homes.

Hold those thoughts as you go through the remainder of this hurricane season and prepare for future seasons. That could be us. Take hurricane preparedness seriously. Last week those Bahamians couldn’t imagine a storm that would put them in their attic or make their second floor unsafe. Let their suffering not be in vain, let’s learn from their experience.

The generosity of our community is as reliable as the sun coming up each morning. After a natural disaster such as Dorian, you know that relief efforts will be organized to channel the goodwill of those who were spared the disaster to help those whose homes and lives were upended by it.

This week Stokes Marine is putting together supplies to take to the Bahamas. They are planning a trip now and one later with more supplies. Islanders can drop off donations at the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce office at 2450 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach. Details are in this week’s Dorian story and on our Around & About pages.

We won’t be surprised if more relief efforts pop up in the coming weeks and we’ll share them as we learn of them. For financial donations, rely on established disaster relief organizations such as Red Cross, Salvation Army, Catholic Relief Services, World Central Kitchen, etc. For a list of charitable organizations providing aid to the Bahamas, that are highly-rated by Charity Navigator, see

We have more than a month left of peak hurricane season, even longer until the end of the official season. Just because we’ve seen one major hurricane, doesn’t mean this season is over.

While we’re all feeling pretty lucky this week, let’s turn that sense of relief into assistance for those who need it and a renewed focus on making sure that all in our own community are truly prepared were a Cat 5 hurricane to come calling on our Island.


Missy Layfield