L-R: Rotarians Jim Harrison Jimmy Soravilla, George Fowler, Teresa Taft and Fred Beck at the Rotary Distribution Center in Lemon Bay Plaza.
People lined up at the Rotary Distribution Center.
Hurricane Ian has impacted everyone in our community. Whether your home was damaged or destroyed, you lost trees or a pool cage, or you had little to no damage at all, you are feeling the impact of this devastating storm. We’re dealing with insurance companies, adjusters, FEMA, SBA, clean-up crews and utilities. And many, if not all of us are dealing with some sort of PTSD. I know that I am having a very difficult time focusing at the task at hand. I’m physically exhausted and mentally drained. While the Englewood Review came through with no damage, we have suffered financially. We obviously couldn’t publish our October 7th paper as there was no power or Internet. We made the decision not to publish the October 21st paper, allowing staff, writers, and of course our advertisers, the time to deal with the aftermath of the hurricane. Like many of you in this extraordinary community, we also volunteered. This meant that we’ve had to delay our Women Mean Business special section until the November 18th issue. With these delays we made the difficult decision not to publish our Salute To Veterans section and Welcome Back section. There just isn’t the time for our small staff to pull all of that off in a timely basis. Look for those sections again next year. Englewood Strong was born in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Little did we know that Irma would just be a precursor to Ian. Neighbor-helping-neighbor is in our DNA. Englewood’s pioneering families helped to create this self-reliance. Ian re-invigorated Englewood Strong, and to see our community pulling together to help each other out warms my heart. Englewood is truly strong. On Monday after the storm, the Englewood Chamber of Commerce was up and operating, handing out supplies and providing electricity for charging cell phones. The Chamber also set up a disaster resource website www.englewoodchamber.com/resources, where you can find links to resources you might need at this time. The Chamber continued to provide supplies and through the help of the Governor’s office they are offering Starlink Internet at no cost until the Internet is operational for all. Reach out to the Chamber at 941-474-5511 for more information. The four local Rotary Clubs went out into the community helping whomever they could. Rotary District 6960 set up a distribution center in Englewood Shopping Center where essential supplies were collected from all over the country and more than one million dollars in supplies were distributed to those in need. Members from all four Rotary clubs staffed the center. They also went into mobile home parks and moved aluminum and debris out to the curb so it could be picked up. We had volunteers from all over the country come in to help clean up. I met people from Tennessee, North Carolina and Maryland. I never imagined that I’d be accepting food from the World Central Kitchen. What a Godsend that was. It’s an extraordinary program that Chef José Andrés has set up as his organization prepares and distributes food to disaster victims all over the world. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a country to raise that village out of its disaster. Thanks to all of this disaster assistance we are beginning to see signs of a return to normal, though it will be a long, long time before we are truly back to the way things were. The Englewood Review’s return to publishing is a part of that return to normal. We are counting on you and your organization to send us information on what you are doing/have done in our community and how you are rebuilding from the hurricane. We ask for that information so we can communicate your good deeds, progress and events to our readers. We want to share this with the community. Please email your information to: [email protected] or call us at 941-474-4351. You can visit us at www.engewoodreview.com. There you can find flipbooks of all our publications since January 17, 2020. If you can, please try and volunteer if only for a day. You’ll be helping others and in so doing you’ll be helping yourself. Englewood Strong! Tom Newton