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Hurricane Ian survivors in Charlotte County bonded by more than just the clean-up effort

Posted at 5:04 PM, Oct 08, 2022

CHARLOTTE CO., Fla. — Communities throughout Southwest Florida will need months, if not years, to recover from Hurricane Ian.

While some are coming together through the clean up effort, others are bonding through different means.

"Getting back to normal is the hardest thing to do and I think this is only part of it.”

Under a lone gazebo at Gilchrist Park, a melody of music can be heard.

“Been coming here for over 22 years since I retired from Ohio.”

Ken Blevins and his friends have been coming to this spot, this exact day of the week for years. Long before Hurricane Ian.

"We’re all in the same boat here," says Blevins. "A lot of people lost everything, a lot of people got hammered bad and dealing with the insurance. For those that were here during Charley- it’s no easier anytime that you go through this kind of devastation.”

The only thing getting them through it all is the simple bond of music.

“I had played guitar when I was in my 20s just to get the girls... it didn’t work out.”

Edgar Tasher lives in Englewood, one of the hardest hit areas from Hurricane Ian. He says he’s been through hurricanes before, but nothing quite like this.

“I’ve been through three hurricanes down here, now," says Tasher. "That scared the bejesus out of me- truly. We sat huddled in the laundry room and bathroom. The noise was terrible.”

And even as boats sway unmanned in the waters and with tree limbs scattered around them, these musicians believe Charlotte County will come back better than before.

"It’ll continue, this kind of nucleus of love and music and sharing with each other," said Blevins. "It’s where it’s at.”

"These people are pretty strong hearted and they’re going to bring it back," said Tasher. "There’s no question about it. How long it’s going to take- it doesn’t matter. It’ll happen.”