For endless days, Hurricane Irma languished over the Caribbean causing incredible devastation. With an uncertain track, the powerful storm—a Category 4 at landfall in the Florida Keys—turned its fury towards Florida. It had residents and visitors fleeing from South Florida and Southwest Florida, to Orlando and Tampa Bay, in the largest U.S. evacuation in history. Ultimately, its powerful winds left a path of destruction, downed power lines, gas shortages, flooded streets and property damage in its wake, hitting the Florida Keys the hardest.
Still, as the storm tore through South Florida, I saw the best of my community. I am a rare breed—I was born and raised in the beloved “305.” I have experienced more than half a dozen hurricanes including Hurricane Andrew in 1992. And yes, we are the beach and nightlife mecca everyone wants to visit. But, let’s not forget that nearly 2.7 million people call Greater Miami home, six million if you include Fort Lauderdale and the Palm Beaches.
As my fellow Miamians prepared for what Hurricane Irma would bring, we temporarily shelved our carefree, laid-back attitude to help friends, family, neighbors and strangers with sand bags, long gas lines and plywood runs to endure what Irma would bring. We pulled together and I could not be more proud of how the region and the state came together, during and after Irma.
In its aftermath, we continue to count our blessings and grateful that it wasn’t worse. The recovery may seem daunting but we will endure as past generations have rebuilt after other natural disasters, economic depressions and the darker days in our history.
Like The Kinks song says, “we might be bruised but we’re not broken”—and it has never been more apropos than now.