FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — One Fort Myers Beach family who lost everything during Ian is now on the road to recovery thanks to a Tampa non-profit that is no stranger to helping residents after major disasters.
"I cannot say thank you enough I cried before, I'm sure I'm going to cry again, the support is just overwhelming," said Bret Randle. He along with his wife Jana and their 13-year-old son Elan are expressing their gratitude after receiving some clean-up help from Rebuilding Together, a non-profit from Tampa Bay.
"They actually found a whole armload of jewelry, even a diamond ring, they were able to pick up a huge amount of trash and debris, said Randle added.
So far, the group has been able to raise nearly a million dollars, which includes a $500,000 grant received Thursday from Wells Fargo Bank. Then funds will soon go toward rebuilding efforts for low-income underserved families in Southwest Florida.
"We are gathering and bringing together all of our sponsors and new sponsors to be able to help homeowners in need to repair their homes and get back safely to their homes," said Executive Director Jose Garcia.
"It’s going to be roof, windows, doors, we're going to make sure that the envelope of the house outside is strong."
Their plan is to stick around for the long haul, at least for the next three years, all while raising more funds, ensuring communities like Ft. Myers Beach can get back to what they used to be.
"We need to bring them back, we need to bring the community back and we need to make sure they become sustainable," said Garcia.
The non-profit hopes to have residents begin applying for assistance by December.