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RV company in Indiana donates travel trailers to two families on Pine Island

RV company in Indiana donates travel trailers to two families on Pine Island
Posted at 6:36 PM, Oct 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-12 18:48:08-04

MATLACHA, Fla — Two families on Pine Island who lost their homes during Hurricane Ian now have travel trailers from Indiana to call home as they rebuild their lives.

Like many areas in southwest Florida, neighborhoods in Matlacha and Pine Island were severely damaged from Hurricane Ian. After seeing the devastation, resident Jim Bergan started to think about ways to get the community temporary housing so they could start to rebuild their lives.

“Called our good friends Doug and Mary Minix up in Middlebury, Indiana,” said Bergan. “Mary walked into the office of Don Clark, the president of Grand Design, and said we need to help these people, somehow, someway.”

Grand Design then jumped into action, sending travel trailers full of supplies donated from Fellowship Church in Indiana and drove them down to Southwest Florida. Bergan hopes that these trailers will give these families a sense of home while they are rebuilding.

“So, if we can put some of these with people that are rebuilding their house while they rebuild their property,” said Bergan. “Reunited with family. The electricians, the roofers, and everybody on the island are trades people. They will just put their island back together.”

One of the families receiving a trailer is the Streeter family in Saint James City. Casey Streeter says this trailer will allow him to bring his kids home from family up north and get back to some sense of normalcy.

“They left a day or two after the storm,” said Streeter. “They knew what had happened on the island. They didn’t see a lot of the destruction; they didn’t see the destruction of our house or their toys. They haven’t seen our fish house and the destruction that we had there. But when we showed them the camper that we were going to have, we sent them some pictures. It created a sense of 'we got a place to go, we are going to do something fun, we are going to be camping out.' We are going to rebuild.”

Streeter hopes Grand Design and other companies will continue to help those in need.

“I know that I am not the only one in this position,” said Streeter. “We are grateful for whatever it looks like and whatever can come. I know what it feels like to be a recipient of this and what it means to me and my family. So if there can be more that would be great, because there is a lot of need right now.”

The Barnhill family is also receiving a trailer from Grand Design.

“We are going to get the Barnhill family one as well, Jamie Barnhill is a teacher,” said Streeter. “Third grade teacher at the school. She was my son’s teacher last year. Their house was flooded.”

Not only are Jamie and her family getting a trailer, but they are also now looking to help others in need.

“Mrs. Barnhill, Jamie Barnhill, is helping us identify families that are in dire need, that need immediate housing,” said Streeter. “So, Mrs. Barnhill and her family are going to help us do that, I mean they are in need, they lost their home as well. The loss is great out here. So really no one was unaffected. It’s just the degree you were affected.”

But in light of losing his business and his home, Streeter has one message.

“Communities are people,” said Streeter. “And our people aren’t gone. So, we are definitely going to build back and make it better than ever.”