Elizabeth Disco-Shearer, CEO of Disaster Services Corporation, journeyed across Florida this past week to assess the widespread devastation left behind by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.
The groundwork has been laid to provide both Rapid Response and Long-Term Recovery Grants to the affected Councils that have established a plan for the next phase of recovery. The state is still active in debris removal and continuing to stabilize the infrastructure in many areas. There has been a significant loss of homes, businesses, and jobs in each of these hard hit communities. The Fort Myers area has been one of the most drastically affected communities.
Elizabeth met with Diane Clarke, the SVdP Southeast Regional Disaster Chair who has been working tirelessly to help organize and lead disaster relief efforts throughout the state and who is a survivor as well. Diane is supporting long-term recovery work and has been working at the Sarasota Emergency Operations Command. Elizabeth stated, “Diane and I were at Ft. Myers Beach today and the destruction was overwhelming, especially as we witnessed the height of the storm surge as it was made evident how serious and dangerous the conditions were.” She went on to say that, “This will be a long recovery, and I am proud of the amazing work that our Vincentians have done to date. FEMA and the American Red Cross team have expressed their gratitude for the Vincentian’s efforts, singing their praises as they have managed to complete over 1,000 intake forms as they met with survivors in Ft. Myers within the FEMA led Multi-Agency Resource Center.” Elizabeth mentioned, “I want to personally thank Diane Clark for her outstanding leadership, as she is working 24/7 to support the Councils that have been impacted by these hurricanes, in addition to all the work she does for her Conference. I don’t know how she does it all!”
A special thanks and recognition is also extended to Trace Tryklo, Executive Director of St. Vincent de Paul of Orlando, for all he is doing to support Hurricane Ian survivors in the Diocese of Orlando. Vincentians, Jim Reagan and Susan Pellicciotti, from Diocese of Venice, along with many other volunteers, who helped at the Multi Agency Resource Center. Elizabeth ended with, “I was so moved by the Vincentian spirit of caring during my time in Florida, they are truly amazing.”