PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — A Florida woman hid in a closest during Hurricane Ian for hours, but said she felt she wasn’t alone as she prayed.
“I was very close to God,” said Susan DiGregorio as she recalled sitting in a closet while Hurricane Ian pounded her mobile home for hours. “I didn’t know if I’d live. If it was my time to go.”
There is widespread damage on the interior and exterior of DiGregorio's home, but she survived. By Saturday she was on day three with no water, power or hot food.
“I’ve been in shock, so I don’t know what I’ve been doing,” she added as she waited outside for the Charlotte County transit bus.
DiGregorio is believed to be the only person who didn’t leave the Bay Palms Park in Punta Gorda. The person who was going to help her evacuate came down with COVID-19, and she didn’t have any other options.
Not far from her home is Shirley Beverly, who returned to her home with no power, spoiled food and no running water.
"What am I supposed to do,” she asked.
Beverly, 89, has lived in her Punta Gorda home for 15 years and said she doesn’t know how she will start over at her age.
"I worked so hard all my life, when I need help, I got none, and I’m not going to beg for help, why do you have to beg for help now?”
Water got under Beverly’s mobile home, and she worries that it seeped through the flooring as spaces are already bulging. A Purple Heart recipient and former nurse, Beverly struggles to understand how she will rebuild after this.
"I had this paid off.”