FORT MYERS, Fla. — Local veteran Leon and his wife Julia waited out Hurricane Ian in their Harlem Heights home. A boat rescued them with 3.5 feet of water in their house. The couple has been displaced from their home since the storm. Their neighbor Lester, also a veteran, got five feet of flooding in his home and lived in his car and now a FEMA trailer in his front yard.
The Home Depot Foundation’s 50 volunteers and the non-profit organization Inspiritus mudded walls, replaced doors, floors, trim, kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities.
Inspiritus President and CEO John Moeller said, “I think hope abounds and hope abounds because Inspiritus is still on the ground and The Home Depot Foundation has not forgotten about these homeowners.”
Both Leon and Lester are two of the nine homeowners whom the Home Depot Foundation will rebuild and repair their homes starting Tuesday.
After Hurricane Ian, The Home Depot Foundation donated $1 million to help Harlem Height’s recovery.
The storm flooded five feet of water inside Lester Thomas’s home. After the storm, he lived in his car and now lives in a FEMA trailer in his front yard.
“You think that people don’t have goodness in their heart no more because you don’t see it, but now you can feel it,” Thomas said.
Thomas walked through his home while the volunteers were hard at work. He told Fox 4, last night he couldn’t sleep because he was so excited for the help.
“Real soon I’m going to have furniture. I’m going to be able to turn on my lights, lay in my bed, ” Thomas said.
The volunteers replaced doors, floors, trim, kitchen cabinets, bathrooms vanities and painted.
Thomas said, “There’s good people that come and help you restore it and get it back that’s even a much greater feeling, and they do it from the kindness of their heart.”
He added, “Nowhere in the world I would rather live than here.”