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A year after Hurricane Ian, some homeowners feel forgotten

"There's a lot of elderly people that just can't do a lot." Constant rebuilding, one year after the storm.
Cape Ian Damage
Posted at 5:39 PM, Dec 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-13 19:32:05-05

John “Gunny” Owens thought he had seen it all.

After serving more than four decades in the Marine Corps, the retired Master Sgt. and Purple Heart honoree, now lives a quiet life on the water in Cape Coral.

Or, at least, he did live a quiet life before Hurricane Ian brought the water into his home.

“I’m watching it rise and rise. I said, ‘nah, it ain’t gonna come into the house.’ Well, I was dead wrong,” said Owens.

More than a year later, the damage is everywhere in his South Cape home.

The walls in several rooms are torn out, showing how four to five feet of water flooded the home.

And a damp smell permeates throughout the house.

“Yeah, it’s been tough. But I’ve been through a lot, so I take it with a grain of salt,” said Owens.

While he might not pity himself, his daughter Melissa Ann Stevens, says the past year has shown her society’s failures.

“We are not taking care of the people that take care of us. We’re free because of him. He did Vietnam. He did Desert Storm,” said Stevens.

Stevens says the last year has been a constant battle with insurance, adjusters, contractors, and the mortgage provider.

“There’s been so many instances where people will double the money of what something costs,” Stevens said. “Or they’ll say it costs this and then turn around and say it costs something else once they know an adjuster is involved.”

Stevens says she has a check from the insurance company that will pay for about half of the costs to repair.

She’s hoping her father’s story will spur a broader conversation about how the community cares for our elderly population.

“That’s the true story of this storm. There’s a lot of elderly people that just can’t do a lot.”