BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — As the winds from Hurricane Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida, Mary Farr watched as the Imperial River in Bonita Springs crept closer to her home.
Once the water came under the deck, she knew she had to evacuate.
Farr, her 93-year-old father, and her fiancé Milton drove to her neighbor’s house on higher ground.
“And we stayed there for two months,” said Farr, a Spanish teacher at Barron Collier High School
Ian destroyed her home.
More than a year later, the family still hasn’t been able to move back in.
Farr, who most refer to as Chachi, calls Ian the first of many floods that came into her life.
“Unfortunately, Ian was the bad one, but it was followed by a lot of good floods that have happened with humanity coming together to help,” said Farr.
Just days after the storm, a former student called and wanted to help clean up the house.
“She said, ‘can we come over and help?’ I said, ‘whose we?’ She said, ‘just a couple of us.’ 25 showed up.”
The help kept coming from the community she loves.
In January, Farr received funds from Champions for Learning to help pay for her insurance deductibles.
Days after the storm, Milton asked her to marry him.
Farr thought the wedding would have to wait.
But then Tami Henion, the event manager at the recently opened Hodges Life Celebrations Center in Bonita Springs, heard about Farr’s story and offered to hold the wedding for free.
“I heard about Mary’s story and wanted to help make her wedding a reality. After meeting her, it became my goal to help give her a beautiful memory of her special day,” Henion said.
The donations didn’t stop there.
Something Bridal, Occasions Florist, SWFL Wedding Planners, Z Photo and Film, Personal Touch Catering of Cape Coral and Dani Papa Art all donated their services to make the day unforgettable. “In some ways, I feel like, since I don’t have my mom, she’s making sure that angels are coming around. I know that. I sense that she is here in some ways,” Farr said.
Hodges is still taking donations to make the November wedding unforgettable.
Anyone interested in taking part is urged to reach out to Tami Henion at Hodges Event Center at 804-937-2301 or Tamara.Henion@Dignitymemorial.com