Dealing With the Aftermath: Hurricane Ian

By Charlene Orsine

On September 28, Hurricane Ian took aim at SWFL (Southwest FL), making landfall near Cayo Costa as a dangerous, high-end Category 4 storm. Ian’s storm surge was as high and as far-reaching as forecasters feared – reaching over 7 feet in many areas. Fort Myers Beach, a coastal city on a barrier island, was among the areas hardest hit, with those storm surges nearly reaching the roofs of some houses. Hundreds of homes and businesses were completely wiped out and washed away. Ian dealt a devastating blow to both manmade buildings and infrastructure – many islands have only one access point on/off, and both the Sanibel causeway and the Matlacha/Pine Island bridges suffered tremendous damage – but also to the natural treasures that we are blessed with and both wildlife and tourists flock to enjoy. Many beaches, estuaries, and mangroves were also severely damaged.

As a professional organizer who specializes in photos, I teamed up with other photo managers in recovering water-damaged photos. We posted on social media, letting people know that they didn’t have to throw them away! There was help! And I set up in my garage, cutting photos out of wet albums to dry and then scan before mold and water did their irreparable harm.

I am also working with other professional organizers in helping families clean out their water-damaged homes. Our jobs normally don’t involve as much throwing out, so it was just as emotional for us as for the children of the homeowners when an untouched photo album was discovered on top of an entertainment centerpiece! (This is why we look everywhere – we always find stuff in the most unexpected places.) There were tears of joy shed that day. That’s the power of our photo memories.

My own parents suffered water damage in their respective homes, which sadly included some physical photos. Thankfully, I’d previously taken the time to scan most of our family’s collection into a FOREVER Storage account and didn’t think much at all about our own photos. Any albums that were damaged can be easily viewed within their FOREVER Storage Account or simply reprinted through FOREVER Design & Print. After seeing the destruction of Ian, I love that peace of mind now more than ever.

To see the rest of Charlene's photos of Hurricane Ian, visit her album here.

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