Port Charlotte, Fl. (WFXR) — Thousands of people remain without power in Florida, as crews work to turn the lights back on. Help for the ‘Sunshine State’ is pouring in from around the country- including Virginia.
God’s Pit Crew is among those helping in Florida — making their first stop in Port Charlotte to offer supplies, lend a helping hand, and comfort to those cleaning up after the storm.
Before the group’s trucks arrived from Danville, the God’s Pit Crew volunteers were analyzing the damage in the area, caused by Hurrincan Ian. They didn’t need to go far before they found people in need.
“It was really more of a calling I think — just feeling bad for people and just watching how bad it was. The water was like up to the powerlines,” said God’s Pit Crew volunteer Miles Willard to WFXR’s David Deguzman on why he decided to join the clean-up.
Willard has been helping victims of natural disasters for five years.
“I just kept going back. You really get blessed just by going on these trips — the people you meet, the stories you hear, what they’ve been through,” Willard continues.
One of the victims of the disaster was Arlene Gaffey, who had a palm tree fall onto her house.
“We lost power, Wednesday, in the middle of the night when the storm actually hit. It was blowing hard then. It was pouring rain then,” Gaffey said. “And it just didn’t stop until about midnight almost Thursday morning.”
The palm tree that Hurricane Ian blew onto the roof held special significance for the Florida resident.
“Yep, this palm is what my husband gave me for my 50th birthday — he passed away. So, now that’s like his last thing he gave me that — it’s gone now,” Gaffey tells.
Gaffey wasn’t the only one with loss and damage from Hurricane Ian, with more residents in need not so far away.
Street by street, Miles and many other volunteers provided help to the Florida residents who were in need of both assistance and hope. After every visit from God’s Pit Crew, the volunteers ended with a prayer.
“It was the transformation from they feel completely lost and hopeless until you’re done, and then they just kind of have a little bit of hope back in them,” Willard said. “They’re always so grateful. It’s just a good feeling to go out and serve people like that.”
And grateful the Florida residents were, with some even saying they were god-sent.
“I really appreciate you guys more than you know,” Gaffey said. “So, thank you.”
God’s Pit Crew is scheduled to stay in the Port Charlotte area until Oct. 16. Crews will begin repairing the damage in the area soon.
If you would like to help with Hurricane Ian relief, WFXR has partnered with the American Red Cross for their Hurricane Relief Fund. Just click the link here to donate.